25 Things I’ve Learned Before Turning 25

Hi, loves! This coming Friday, on May 17th, I turn 25 and I’m happy to say I’m way more cool about being a year older than I was when I turned 24. I think our twenties are a weird time; from being teenagers we had goals and aspirations for where we thought we’d be at *insert age* and we may not have met the goals we’d laid out for ourselves. I’m actually really okay with that this year, and I feel so blessed to be turning 25 feeling genuinely happier than I have for all of my twenty-something birthdays. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my last birthday and Matt and I had so much fun, but I was still so worried about being another year older. Back on my 21st birthday I didn’t even celebrate because I was really struggling with my anxiety and felt so rubbish, yet now at 25 I feel like a whole new person!

Even though I still deal with anxiety and panic attacks on a semi-regular basis, I’m truly the happiest I’ve ever been right now, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to say that! I have the most amazing boyfriend in the whole world (you might have heard me mention him from time to time…) and my family and friends are just the best I could wish for. I have a job, a car, lots of new goals I’m working towards and my blog is my little baby! If you had told 21 year old Gill that this would be her life at 25, she’d never have believed it. Anxiety has re-shaped my whole life over the past six years, and although it has been terrible in some parts, I have grown so much and I appreciate life in a whole new way.

1. Your mental health must always be your first priority. Only you can do this for yourself, and it’s so important to listen to what you need (and deserve). No matter what the situation is, if you don’t feel up to it you don’t need to do it and you’ll thank yourself later. We live in a generation where it’s not at all uncommon to suffer or know someone suffering with mental health problems, and it’s something we need to stop being ashamed of, and start speaking up about!

2. Being in love is the best feeling in the whole world. I feel beyond blessed to experience such a deep and meaningful love at such a young age, that some people don’t find in one thousand lifetimes. Matt is not just my boyfriend but my rock, my soulmate, my biggest supporter and my favourite person in the whole world. Falling asleep and waking up with the person you love every day is also hands down one of the best feelings you’ll ever experience, it still makes me so happy every single day/night. I’m so lucky to be in love with my best friend, and I never have or will take that for granted.

3. Moderation is key. This applies to most aspects of life really, but especially with food. Since I was super young I’ve had a bit of a weird relationship with food; I either binge on anything and everything I want, or I barely eat. Over the past few years I’ve found a much better balance; I eat tons of fruits and veggies, and if I want to eat chocolate, sweets, ice cream (or whatever!) I’ll enjoy that too. I also have the worst sweet tooth, sometimes I literally can’t help myself!!

4. Learning to drive is one of the best thing you’ll ever do. Well, for me it was. I struggled and stressed my way through driving lessons, failing tests I wasn’t ready for and having panic attack after panic attack at even the thought of another lesson. I finally plucked up the courage to change instructors and breezed through my test (third time lucky!) and now, three and a half years on, I truly couldn’t imagine my life without being able to drive, or my cute little Viva!

5. Always buy the scented candle. Seriously. I am a connoisseur of candles, if I do say so myself, at the grand old age of (almost) twenty five, and if I like the candle I’m going to buy the candle. It makes me happy, and life is too short to not do what makes you happy. Which is more the point of this lesson: do what makes you happy. And buy the damn candle.

6. Always be kind, no matter how you feel that day. But do not expect every kind act to be reciprocated, or you’ll be sorely disappointed. Kindness is so so important, and we can all be a bit nicer from time to time! It’s just important to remember that you don’t know what anyone is going through, and everyone has their own problems to deal with. I delved into this topic way more in this post.

7. You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I’ve spent almost twenty five years trying to please everyone, and keep everyone around me happy. It’s a fact that you’re not going to gel with everyone you meet in life, and that’s okay. I really want to be less of a people pleaser, and it’s something I’m working on. I joked to Matt the other day that sometimes I feel like Amy Santiago with the Captain in Brooklyn 99 – desperate to be liked, lol!

8. Always pay yourself first out of your wages. Setting up a direct debit into my savings account has totally changed how I save money; you can’t miss money you didn’t ever see! Every month the day after I get paid, X amount goes straight into my savings account and is there for emergencies only. I have separate savings accounts for various things, but that *just incase* money is so important, and gives me peace of mind.

9. Not everyone has your best interests at heart. This is a hard lesson; to share and to learn, and it’s something I still struggle with now. I want to believe that everyone’s nice and life is sunshine and rainbows but I know that’s not true. If someone talks badly of you when you’re not around, makes you feel/look stupid in front of others or will happily throw you under the bus for their own gain then they’re not worth it.

10. Travelling feeds the soul. I’m not one for backpacking round Australia for three months – props to you, if you are – but I love to explore new places, and Matt is (obviously) my favorite travel partner. Whether it’s city breaks, day trips or week-long jaunts to a hot climate, I absolutely love to travel and I can’t wait to tick more and more places off our bucket list. We got to Croatia in five and a half weeks and I’m SO ready for it!

11. Never apologise for being curious. Asking questions is the way we learn, and it’s not something to be looked down on for. Ever. During my second week at my job back when I was 19 years old and super shy, I innocently asked the person teaching me why she did a few things so I could get a better understanding. She scoffed that I ask too many questions, laughed about me with our other colleagues, and made me feel so uncomfortable for being genuinely curious and wanting to learn. Her reaction sticks with me to this day, and I try to be as helpful as possible when teaching others as a result.

12. There’s a Disney quote for every occasion. There really is! My favourite is always going to be from the man himself: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

13. Having the confidence to walk into the unknown is a beautiful thing. Like starting this blog. I had wanted to create a blog for most of my adult life, as an avid reader/follower of so many, yet I lacked the confidence to do so. I wrote myself off as being not good enough, yet I love writing my blog more and more as the months go on. I’m so thankful for my platform, and even though it is just a hobby for me right now, I take it so seriously.

14. The quality of your social circle is much more important than the quantity. Treasure the people that always have your back and fill you with joy, love and happiness, they’re the good eggs! As you get older I think it’s so difficult to meet new people and make friends, that’s something that shocked me a little about getting older. I’ve said this thousands of times, but I know I’m so lucky that Matt is my boyfriend and my best friend, and I thank my lucky stars for that every single day. Quality over quantity, always!

15. Being open with your emotions does not make you weak. I’ve been told several times that I’m ‘too’ emotional. It’s true that I cry a lot (whether I’m happy or sad, ha!), I often lead with my heart and I definitely wear my heart on my sleeve. Being emotional means I’m very empathetic to others’ situations however, and that is not a bad quality to have!

16. Learning to cook is life changing. Matt and I flipping LOVE cooking. We love to try new recipes and methods, create our own meals and experiment with different ingredients and flavours. I feel sad I didn’t have an interest in cooking from a younger age and I wish I’d developed it sooner, but I’m so happy it’s something Matt and I are able to learn about together! I delved into how and why we meal plan in this post, and I’m excited to share some of our favourite recipes on the blog in the coming months.

17. Being kind to the planet is so important. I’m ashamed to admit that this is something I’ve only truly thought about over the past two or three years, but I’m proud of myself for making changes to my everyday life and doing what I can to make a difference. I wrote a post about small changes we can make in our everyday lives to live more sustainably here if you’d like to check that out for a little inspiration. I definitely want to write more about this topic on my blog!

18. Mums are always right. If I had have told my 14 year old self this I would have literally laughed in my own face, but it’s true. My mum and Matt’s mum (she’s my second mum, I’m so lucky!!) always know what to do or say no matter what the situation is, and they are strong, amazing women that I’m so lucky to look up to.

19. There’s no place like home. *clicks glittery red heels together* ha! For real, Matt and I are homebodies in every sense of the word. We love cosy nights at home; lighting our candles, cooking a lovely dinner and snuggling up to watch a show. (I’m so excited to do this in our own home, hopefully next year!) We also love our hometown more than anything – Newcastle is honestly the greatest place on earth to us. From where we live, we’re ten minutes away from the city centre in one direction, the beach another, and the countryside in another!

20. Friendships change and that’s okay. Sometimes friendships grow into a life-long bond, sometimes they mould into a weird new territory and sometimes they fizzle out all together. Take the good with the bad and be sure to appreciate the good memories you make as they will last way beyond any empty friendships. You learn so many lessons from your friendships, and I wish I knew this when I was a teenager.

21. Comparing your life to somebody else’s will never bring you joy. You were made to be you; a unique individual with their own thoughts, looks, style, opinions etc and that is a wonderful thing. Don’t feel envious of other people’s lives or circumstances, and put that focus back into yourself. Stay in your own lane and you’ll be so much happier for it.

22. You’ll turn into a grandma sooner than you think. Like I said above, Matt and I are homebodies. We’re those people that think we want to go out for date night, but when the day comes we’d rather stay in and cook a meal or grab a takeaway. We also would rather get an early night in so we can head out early in the morning for breakfast and ‘a wander’ (potentially around a garden centre…). We buy clothes thinking about the purpose and/or longevity. If we’re in the house you can pretty much guarantee I have a blanket draped over me. We’re literally turning into our grandparents more and more as the days roll on and we’re okay with that, just someone please stop me if you see me going in for a blue rinse!

23. Standing up for what you believe can be hard, but always worth it. I hate confrontation. I hate disagreements. I hate arguments. BUT there is always a way to get your point across in a level-headed, relaxed way, and it doesn’t need to cause uproar. Being respectful is the main thing; it’s okay to disagree with someone’s opinion, stand up for your beliefs or voice your thoughts, and it’s something I really need to do more often.

24. Less truly is more. After the rise of minimalism, sustainability and Marie Kondo, we all felt a bit embarrassed about the amount of crap we’d accumulated, right? Since having several clear outs – tbh, Matt and I really need another – I’m very happy living with less and truly loving what I own. I think about this with everything I buy, and it means I’m way more clever about what is worth the purchase. Does *insert item* spark joy? Will I get use out of *insert item*? Material items will not bring you happiness, no matter how hard you try to make them.

25. Making ‘me time’ is so important. There’s so much more to self care than just the beauty aspect, but I swear treating yourself to pamper evening at least once per week will make your whole life feel different. Go all out with a face mask, hair mask, full body scrub and a Lush bath bomb. Book yourself in for regular salon appointments to keep your hair looking pretty, and indulge in getting your nails done now and then. When you look good you feel good, and I really appreciate ‘me time’.

Thank you so much for reading, it truly means the world to me! I’m taking a little of my own advice from this post, and for the first time on my blog, there won’t be a new post up on Sunday. I’m SO SAD saying that, but I want to enjoy my birthday weekend with Matt and not have to worry about editing, scheduling or keeping up with my new post, I hope you understand! Can you relate with any of the lessons I mentioned in this post? What’s the most important things you’ve learned so far in life? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back on Wednesday, have a wonderful weekend!

-G x

The Importance Of Being Kind In An Unkind World

Hi, loves! Happy Sunday!

I feel like the world we live in is constantly throwing out negative thing after negative thing; topics such as climate change, natural disasters, illness and pollution are inescapable to anyone who pays attention to the news or even social media. Add in other horrible headlines that we see on a near-daily basis; murders, animal cruelty, sexism and poverty, and it’s no wonder the world struggles to be kind and positive. Now, this blog post is not at all to put a downer on your Sunday, but it’s to show you that in my opinion, one of the best things we can do for ourselves and each other is to be kind.

jo-malone-peony-and-blush-suede-candle-how-to-be-parisian-an-edited-life-hinch-yourself-happy-homesense-flowers-pink-peonies-stackers-jewellery-box

I have been thinking a lot recently about the way I act towards others, and the way others act towards me. I really wanted to write a somewhat chatty blog post about this as it’s something I think we can all struggle with sometimes. I know personally if I was having a bad day, I wouldn’t have necessarily thought about how my mood can affect others, but that’s something I’ve really been working on the past few months. I find that my mood is often brought down if someone else is taking their bad mood out on me; if someone is snappy or rude, I feel like it’s contagious and it makes me feel miserable too. However, when someone is kind and friendly towards you, this also has a contagious effect and the smallest thing can make my whole day.

Another thing that has got me thinking about kindness, is After Life, a Netflix show created by Ricky Gervais, who is also the lead character. Matt and I are only five episodes in and I’ve cried seven times already, it’s moving, incredibly sad, witty, and so emotional. The story is based around a man called Tony, who recently lost his wife Lisa to breast cancer, and how this affects him and everyone around him who just want to help. He’s struggling to deal with all of the emotions he feels since her death, and contemplated taking his own life as a result. There are funny parts in there too, and without giving too much away it is a perfect example of the fact you don’t know what other people are going through. Kindness is sometimes the only thing we have, and it’s truly important to spread and share with everyone you meet.

Being kind is honestly one of the best traits in a person in my opinion, and I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many kind-hearted people. I know I talk about my boyfriend approximately 24 hours a day (sorry not sorry), but he’s really just the best thing in my life. He is without a doubt the most hard-working, generous and kind man I’ve ever met, and he makes me so proud. His kindness is endearing; he always wants to help, he makes other people feel good about themselves, and he is such a happy person. He genuinely inspires me to be a better person every day! My mum and dad are so loving and kind; they help anyone in any way they possibly can, and they never expect anything in return for that. My family and close friends are a great bunch of kind-hearted people, and I know how lucky I am to have this kind of inner circle.

This past week I was in Asda picking up our dinner ingredients, and an elderly lady was struggling to reach something on a lower shelf so I grabbed it for her. I didn’t think about it, and I’m sure this is a pretty natural reaction for anyone, of course we’re going to help people when we can, but she was so grateful and happy that I’d done such a simple thing. She stopped to chat for a little while, and explained she had lots of problems with her hip and could no longer do everyday tasks the same way. We spoke for only a few minutes, and when we said goodbye she thanked me for being so kind to her, which naturally made my eyes fill with tears. (I’m a crier, lol). I’d had a long day at work, was feeling a little stressed out and was wishing away the hours until Matt finished work so I could curl up with him. It was a great reminder of how much our actions can directly affect those around us, even people we don’t know, and why being kind should not depend on your mood. I felt so happy to have this little exchange with the lady, and it gave me all the warm fuzzies to see how happy she was from stopping for a quick chat.

Being kind is not exclusive to people of wealth or people without, it’s something inclusive to all and I think it should be a higher priority for people, myself included. Organise your day or week, and make sure to take time out each day to carry out small acts of kindness. Kindness may not always be the most important thing in our lives, we all have different priorities at different times, but I truly think if we all focus a little more on it, the world would be a much better place.

As I said above, kindness can be contagious and that is one of the best things about it in my opinion. How many times have you seen a stranger smile at you, smiled back and instantly felt happier? Or recieved a hug at the end of a long day that just felt like heaven? Or given a gift and seen the joy on someone else’s face? Being kind can be a truly selfless act, of course, but it’s lovely that it has a boomerang-like effect; we get a buzz from making others feel good, and I think that’s pretty special.

do-all-things-with-kindnesss

Fifteen Easy Things You Can Do Today To Be More Kind:
Smile. It’s really such a small thing, but how good do you feel when a stranger smiles at you randomly? Or you’re being checked out at the grocery store by a smiley cashier? Be generous with your smiles, they’re free!
Make dinner for your partner. Cooking together is always our preference, but Matt loves when I make dinner for him coming home from work. He sees it as such a nice gesture and I love to do it for him. He repays the favour on his days off when I’m at work and makes dinner for me coming home, I appreciate it so much too.
Donate to a charity. As little as £1 can make a huge differnce to those in need, you don’t have to think big to donate. Whether you’d like to give money, old items you no longer benefit from, canned foods (always needed at the homeless shelters!) or your time, give generously.
Pay for someone’s drink in the line behind you. I love to do this for someone from time to time. It’s so apparent how out-of-the-blue it is, and how flipping happy they are at the prospect of a free drink! You can also try this out at the drive thru, which Matt told me I need to stop doing or people will be following me through like I’m the Pied Piper. LOL.
Look for the best in situations. Being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others, and watering your (metaphorical) little garden to help it grow and flourish, is up to you. Don’t get bogged down with whatever is going on in the world whether it’s personal or in general; embrace it, and find the positives. If you look really hard you’ll find some!
Visit with family. They love to see you, and they want to hear about all the stuff you’ve been up to. Matt and I try to visit with our grandmas as much as possible, and we know how much they appreciate that. We see both our families so much and we love it, we’re super family orientated and thrive off quality time spent with them.
Make someone a cuppa. Whether it’s your partner in the morning, your co-workers throughout the day or whilst visiting your mum in the evening, making someone a hot drink is one of the sweetest things you can do. And, very British.
Text a friend and ask how they are. It’s so important to check in with your friends, and it’s something I’m really working on doing more often. I’ve never been great at replying to messages (sorry!) but I’m trying to be intentionally quicker and better at replying, and planning in catch ups.
Let the person behind you with less groceries cut infront. I’ve been allowed to do this so many times as I’m forever popping into Aldi for just a packet of bacon and brioche bread buns (Matt’s fave for a weekend morning, LOL) when people are doing their weekly food shop. I always feel a little awkward pushing in, but it’s a sweet gesture that always makes me smile.
Be thoughtful. Did your boyfriend have a bad day? Does your mum feel poorly? Has your friend been going through something rough? Run them a bath, bring them their favourite treats, or spend a little extra time with them.
Tip good service generously. Matt and I always tip when we receive good service in a restaurant, and I think it’s so important to show gratitude for this. In England it’s a little different than in other countries, as waiters and waitresses get paid a fair wage (generally speaking) so do not ‘rely’ on tips the same way as they do in, for example, the US. It’s not expected here per se, and it’s a lovely treat for someone’s hard work.
Hold the door for the person behind you. One of the most simple gestures you can do for someone but I can’t tell you how much this one can be appreciated.
Leave nice comments on social media. Whether it’s on your friend’s Facebook status or an accquaintance’s Instagram photo, share the love! It takes literally seconds from your day, and it’s always so nice to receive lovely comments. I love receiving blog comments SO much and I’m actively trying to comment more on the blogs I read and love.
Watch whatever your boyfriend wants to watch on TV (without complaining). Who cares if you’ve watched every televised football game for the past three weeks? Who cares if you still have no idea what’s going on in Corrie and you’re hiding from seeing any spoilers? Making sacrifices, as small as watching the football, is so appreciated by your partner, just make sure you get to watch your show next time!
Compliment a stranger. If you like someone’s top, hair cut or just the way they acted towards you (or someone else), tell them!

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to know your thoughts on kindness in the comments below. What was the last ‘random act of kindness’ someone did for you? Or what did you do for someone else? Do you have to sometimes make a conscious effort to be kind too?

-G x