2020: My Goals For The New Year

Happy new year, my loves! I hope you had a great evening ringing in 2020, however you spent it. Matt and I watched the fireworks over Newcastle’s Quayside with our friends, and I’m feeling happy and hopeful at the thought of a whole new year right at our feet. I can’t lie, I’m pretty happy to see the back of 2019. For me, it was a building year. I didn’t have a fantastic year, but I did have some fantastic times and I’m so truly grateful for those.

Instead of focusing on the things I didn’t love, I wanted to share a few things about 2019 that were just amazing. Matt and I travelled! We got to spend time in Croatia, we enjoyed several staycations and weekend trips in the UK. I completely fell in love with my blog and my mind is brimming with new content ideas for the new year. Matt and I have learned so much about cooking in 2019, and we love to experiment with new foods and flavours. I finally became a (mostly) confident driver, after years of driving anxiety this was huge for me. We spent so much time with our friends and family, and truly tried to enjoy each day as it came. From every date night to celebration to beach walk to binge-watching Netflix session to road trip, I’m so thankful for another year with my best friend! Matthew, I love you and I’m so happy to do life with you.

I’m going to level with you, I’m really not a huge fan of ‘New Year’ and all of the extremely high expectations it brings; we’re still the same people living the same lives with the same blessings and the same problems… right? The clock does not magically strike midnight and we find ourselves in a Cinderella-like moment, our whole world about to change forever. I do however like to set myself goals – not resolutions – which are like mini challenges and intentions for the year. Truth be told, if nothing much changed between today, January 1st 2020 and December 31st 2020, I’d still be very bloody lucky and happy. I am so grateful for my life as it is right now; my boyfriend, our families, jobs, my blog etc are huge blessings and I think it’s important to keep that at the front of our minds. I really want to express gratitude more this year, I recognise how lucky I am to have the life I do and I’m truly so thankful.

Since I can remember I’ve wanted to stop worrying and overthinking things I can’t change. I am a very anxious person by nature and I get myself so stressed out over so many things I have no control over. Talking things through helps me a lot, and I kind of want to start journaling this year because I know that can be so beneficial to how you view your problems (and things that aren’t really problems). If anyone journals daily to help with this please let me know your thoughts! Yoga is a love of mine that I’ve hugely neglected over the past few months, but I want to practice yoga at least four times per week; it makes me feel good, it helps me to feel strong and boy oh boy does it help with my anxiety.

I want to intentionally eat better food. For the most part, my breakfasts and dinners are healthy, but my lunches and any snacks I eat during the day are not. I love fruit and I love veggies, and I really want to incorporate even more into my diet! Matt and I – along with pretty much everyone else, I think – have eaten so much rubbish over the Christmas break that I am so ready to feed my body with all good things. We fell in love with cooking over the past few years and this year we really want to step up our game with new ingredients and flavours. It would also be great if I could lose a stone or three this year, let’s be real. Small things like taking lunch to work every day will make such a huge difference with this; it literally takes a few minutes the night before to prepare lunches so Matt and I will really be making the most of forward planning a little more with our food in 2020!

I put everyone else’s needs in front of my own, and contrary to what some may think, this is not a good trait. I want to *sometimes* put myself first, and be a little more selfish with my time. Of course Matt and our families are different – they’ll always come first! – but I am generally so concerned about other people’s opinions and thoughts that I often work around what works best for them. Maybe 2020 is the year I’ll stop being the World’s Biggest People Pleaser? I am so excited to travel more in 2020, Matt and I really want to do one or two fun city breaks and we’re headed to Florida with my family to celebrate my dad’s 60th later in the year! I also desperately want to pack up the car, head to the Scottish borders (literally an hour or so from where we live) and just find a random B&B. Maybe being spontaneous is a whole goal in itself this year?

Alongside putting other people’s needs and wants ahead of mine, I’m also very quick to dismiss my own abilities, and this year I want to push myself to achieve new things and allow myself to try. This links into one of my personal goals I’m not sharing on the blog (or with anyone else except Matt and our families, to be honest) but I know that I’m capable of so many more things than I actually believe I am. I am always scared to do ‘more’ with my blog, but this year is going to be about grabbing every opportunity that comes my way – if it’s right for my blog and my readers – and I cannot wait to see what will happen!

A goal for every day/week/month since Matt and I got together has been to spend more quality time with each other. We’re pretty good at getting date nights in the calendar and we love to treat each other to fun activities, but I want to enjoy the little things more too. The every day things; breakfast dates, beach walks, turning the TV off a little earlier each night, long car rides, shopping together etc mean SO much to me and Matthew, and I want to create all of the free time we possibly can to just enjoy being in each other’s company. In the next year or so we’re hoping to buy our first house, and that is going to be so amazing. We just have a little time right now to live our lives and check things off, and that is something I’m so very grateful for! Right now, our lives are busy and hectic, but our little piece of quality time with our favourite people is so important and it’s something I think we can all be a little more mindful of. This also goes for time with our friends/families, I just want to be more present and enjoy every minute we get to spend together.

I love reading, and I want to grab little snippets of time throughout the day to read more. As you all know, Matt bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas and it’s truly the best present EVER! Whether the extra time comes from Matt being due home lots later than me, or Matt leaving earlier than me for work, or when I’m in the bath, or before I get ready for work, or on my lunch break, I want to read more. Basically, I know I can squeeze in more reading time and I’m determined to do it. I also never take a lunch break away from my desk, and I must start doing that, too!

I really want to be more intentional with my spending in the new year, and only buy things that truly make my heart happy. I stopped buying fast fashion pieces that I didn’t need in 2019, and I want to make this even more clear and concise this year. As a beauty lover/beauty blogger I love to buy and try new products more than anything. I love it so much that I find myself opening things before I’ve finished what I was using and it’s not good for my bank balance or the environment! I also want to do more to help the environment, because surely drinking milk alternatives and taking a re-usable cup to Costa isn’t going to save the world?

Thank you so much for reading, my loves! Thank you also for all of the love and support over the past year, I appreciate all of you and my blog wouldn’t be what it is without you lovely people reading it. If you feel the same as I do about the hype of New Years and the high level of expectations, don’t worry! Today is, quite literally, a fresh start. A blank canvas and an opportunity to create yourself goals you want to achieve over the next twelve months. It doesn’t hold the same pressure it used to for me, and I’m on the right path to figuring out what I want my life to be! What are your goals for the new year?

-G x

Blogging Whilst Having A Full Time Job: How I Make It Work

Hi, loves!

Blogging is without a doubt my favourite hobby assuming that napping with my boyfriend is not considered a hobby but it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with my schedule when I work a full time job in the real world, that comes with it’s own problems and stresses. As lots of you will already know, I have a 9am to 5pm job in Accounts and Purchasing in the real world. I work Monday to Friday, so thankfully I have all of my evenings and weekends free which gives me lots of spare time. I always make sure to prioritise time with Matt, and our friends and family first, as well as allowing myself as much ‘me time’ as I need to keep my mental health feeling good. My blogging then slots in behind that, and I always try so hard to create good quality content that I’m proud of.

I started writing my blog in June 2017, after being a dedicated reader of so many blogs for years. I always thought it was something I wouldn’t be good at doing; I lacked the confidence to create one, and I had no idea where to start with the technical side of things either. I’ve talked about my feelings on this subject a little in this post, but I am SO glad I finally took the leap and created my little corner of the internet, after lots of encouragement from Matt. He’s an absolute gem and I’m forever grateful for all of his support, I love him so much! I’ve learned such a huge array of things already about the blogging world, and I’m still learning every day. My blog is my pride and joy, it’s literally like a little baby I want to look after and feed with all of the good stuff, and it feels so good to do something that’s just for me, but also benefits other people. To be honest, even if nobody read my blog I’d still write, it brings me so much joy and a sense of calm that I didn’t know I needed.

I’ve spoken many times on my blog, in various posts, about the fact that Matt and I’s schedules vary so much – there’s a little more background in this post – due to his varying shifts at work. Matt’s hours fluctuate each week, as do his days off, so we always make sure to make the most of time together, and make that our first priority. As a result, my blogging time to brainstorm ideas, write, edit, take photographs etc varies day by day, week by week. At least twice per week Matt starts work early, which means he’s getting up at 6am. I like to get up for the day with him and make his breakfast then when he leaves for work I will work on my blog, and try to squeeze in a yoga practice, before getting ready for the day. He works until late a few times per week, so again my main focus on those evenings is to work on my blog for X amount of time before he gets home, if I don’t have other plans or errands to run. Weekends also vary a lot, although recently we’ve been super lucky and he’s had lots of days off with me! Where possible, I take at least four hours during his work day when I’m at home to work on my blog, and get things pre-planned for the coming week(s). These big chunks of time come in so handy because I can get so much done! I generally tend to just take any spare time I have to create content, and although I don’t have the same daily schedule it seems to work well, and I’m able to run my blog around my life, rather than run my life around my blog.

If we have a few busy weeks in a row it makes it so much harder to ‘fit’ blogging in around the rest of my life, and that’s when I feel stressed out with keeping my hobby going to the high standards I’ve set myself. It sometimes can get a little overwhelming and there have been times I’ve put up a post because it was scheduled for that specific day, even though I haven’t been 100% happy with it. That is something I really don’t want to do again as I feel that’s an unfair reflection of my blog, and it makes me feel a bit rubbish. I appreciate that I’m able to write and edit on my phone, so sometimes I take a little time out of my work day, during my lunch break, to do so. I generally prefer to write on my laptop (or Matt’s) at home though, so I only use my phone to write/edit when I’m feeling a little behind. From my very first post I set myself a blogging schedule – which has since slightly changed due to realising the ‘peak’ times people read posts – but I always stick to it, and post twice per week. I like having continuity in my posts as that’s something I appreciate from my favourite bloggers.

I always write my posts in advance, and I usually have at least five to six posts pre-written, that are then edited a few days before going live. I plan ahead by months sometimes, which sounds a little crazy but I generally have lots of ideas at one time, so I like to plan them in as and when I think of them. I’m so Type A, LOL. I used to include a paragraph at the start of each post about what I’d been up to that week or weekend; any restaurants Matt and I had been to, what we’re watching on TV etc, but that’s something I’ve since stopped doing as I felt it was getting repetitive and took away from the topic(s) in my posts unnecessarily. Sometimes I see that a similar post to what I’ve written has been posted by someone else a little earlier than mine is planned, and I always worry that it looks as though I’m stealing their ideas, although I promise my ideas are all my own! I’m influenced by lots other bloggers – both big and small – in many ways, but I would never copy somebody else’s work or thoughts.

The biggest ‘struggle’ I have when it comes to my blogging schedule is taking photos to go with my pre-written posts. During the Winter months when it was dark before I went to work, and dark when I came home, I would try to take as many photographs as possible during the three hour window it was light every two weeks, and then end up stressed if I had other plans or it wasn’t bright enough outside anyway. I try to take lots of photographs at one time now, so I can edit and upload them together, and this alleviates a little of the stress of always having to take new photos. As I mentioned above, I feel like a lot of the struggles I feel regarding my blog are because I have set myself such high standards, but realistically if a post went up a day later, or didn’t have ‘enough’ photos, nobody would notice (or care) anyways.

I am very happy with, and proud of, my blog (I love my re-design that I did in March – I even had to write code, guys!) but I can’t help sometimes feeling discouraged when I inevitably compare myself to other bloggers. Blogging is not something that brings home the bacon for me, and although I have no idea what will happen in the future, it’s something that right now I love to do regardless, and I enjoy every aspect even with the stress I sometimes feel. That being said, now and then I feel like my blog isn’t good enough, and I can be really hard on myself about that. Sometimes when I read other bloggers’ paid or sponsored posts, seeing how much they are given by brands (those new CMA and ASA rules made this abundantly clear) and how much engagement they get on other platforms, can sometimes really get to me. Don’t get me wrong, I know how hard blogging can be first hand, and I know that most bloggers work so hard and are extremely deserving of their success, it just sometimes worries me that I won’t ever get *there*, wherever there is. These worries are thankfully few and far between, and it’s normal to sometimes doubt yourself, right? It’s a little bit hard to admit that I can feel that way from time to time, and I know some people wouldn’t share that.

I think blogging often seems like sunshine and rainbows to the outside world, but it’s important to be realistic and remember that there are deadlines (albeit, set by myself), a sense of stability and continuity in my posts, and a constant need to be creative. I’m not the most creative person in the world – you should see my art projects as a child, wow! – but when it comes to writing, that’s my thing. I love sharing parts of my life, whether it’s what Matt and I have been up to, products I enjoy using or just my general thoughts and feelings on a subject, and again that’s something I really appreciate in other bloggers’ posts. I also feel the same about YouTube; it’s the boring, at-home-and-running-errands vlogs that interest me the most, not the wow-look-at-this-super-amazing-trip vlogs, although they can be a guilty pleasure from time to time. (Especially Disney World vlogs!) I’ve heard from several people, some of which I know personally and some I do not, that they love seeing a little sneak peek into my everyday life, and I recognise that I’m so blessed to have a platform to share that. I think I just need to stay in my own lane, remember that I’m being true to myself no matter what, and above all continue to put so much time, love and energy into my blog.

If you’re reading this post and hoping to start a blog, or maybe you already have a blog and struggle with finding time to create the content you so badly want to, don’t worry. Look at your schedule, carve time out where it’s possible and never give up. It’s going to be difficult now and then, but you’ll never get anywhere without lots of hard work and perseverance, and that’s true for all things in life. There may be various stressful situations occasionally, but you must put yourself and your mental health first! Make sure to take time out when you need it, and if it means skipping an upload day or pushing it back, I promise your readers will understand. That’s advice I need to take for myself, too.

Thank you so much for reading! I say it in every post but it truly means the world to me; I appreciate every view, comment and like more than you know. Do you feel any of the struggles or stress I’ve mentioned in this post, as you juggle writing your blog with working full time? Do you have any advice or tips that may help me or other bloggers? Please leave them in the comments below!

-G x