Life

A Tribute.

feather colourI know this seems like a slightly sombre post to write in the build upto Christmas, but bear with me.

I was going to write a post about our recent holiday to Brazil and it seemed wrong posting about this without mentioning the loss of my incredibly talented and loving cousin Jonray who recently lost his battle with skin cancer and passed away at the young age of 32. He was one of the youngest Michelin chefs in the world, an incredible father, loving husband and I could not have wished for a more inspiring man to proudly call my cousin.

You never truly understand the pain people feel when they tell you they have lost a loved one until you have felt the pain yourself. Before the beginning of this year I had never lost anyone very close to me and this year we have lost my beloved Pops, beautiful cousin Jonray and Matt’s wonderful Grandad John. I just wanted to write this post to remind anyone who was has lost someone that they are strong and to let them know that it will be ok. Family and friends will get you through the darkest of times and there will come a day when you will be able to feel those you have lost again.

I found a quote after Jonray passed away which now makes perfect sense, “You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it.You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”

I hope this will help others the same way it helped me.

Jonray taught me that life is a gift not to be wasted and I intend to make him and my Pops proud. Christmas is a beautiful time of year which unites families and friends, make the most of every second. If you would like to donate to Jonrays just giving page in aid of Cancer Research UK then please click here.

7 WAYS TO ACHIEVE A SUCCESSFUL WORK-LIFE BALANCE

dramaIf you are lucky enough to have a Monday to Friday, 9-5 job with a good salary then you are at an advantage when it comes to having a good work-life balance. However, whether the ‘life’ part of the balance involves a large bar of dairy milk and Netflix, playing a sport or shopping it is something that can only be organised by you and it is a personal choice.

Here is a list of possible ways to ensure you are making time within your busy schedule for the things you enjoy and need…

PRIORITISATION

931b86aff3815b302d902d04a9eadb0aWhen you arrive at your desk every morning, have a clear list of tasks that you need to complete by the end of the day. Be realistic, try not to get caught up in less productive activities and allow time for emergency deadlines. This way you will leave work on time(ish) and have the evening to do as you please.

EXERCISE

exercuseTaking up a new hobby is a great way to break away from the office, however it can be a struggle to make it a regular occurrence. Joining a sports team will not only be enjoyable, but you will also have a sense of commitment to your team and this will give you the nudge to go every week. Exercise is also a great way to release feel good hormones and focus your mind on something completely separate from work.

RELAX

relaxWith the rise in social media, we are fixated on doing something fun and exciting every minute of every day, however, occasionally we are allowed to take our foot off the accelerator. Remove any form of electronic device from your person and simply go for a walk or read a book and enjoy a moment to regenerate and reflect.

SOCIALISE

Screenshot 2015-11-03 17.20.09Pick an evening that works for you and make it your ‘date’ evening as often as possible. Your date can be dinner with the girls, bowling with your partner or an evening in with your best mate and Mr Rioja. Chatting, laughing and moaning with friends will release any tension that you may not have been able to voice at work – essentially a cheap version of therapy.

HOLIDAYS

Screenshot 2015-11-03 17.32.37No matter how exciting your job is, we all experience particularly uneventful periods in the office and naturally life can begin to feel slightly monotonous. Booking a holiday or weekend-break will provide a light at the end of the tunnel and quite simply give you something to look forward to. This can be a two-week holiday in the Bahamas or a long weekend camping in Devon; it doesn’t matter as long as it is miles away from your every day schedule.

SAY NO

say noTechnology has helped our lives in many ways, but it has also created expectations of constant accessibility. Unless you make it clear that you’re not eternally available for work queries outside of office hours then the workday will never end. Towards the end of every working day, make a list of the things you have not yet completed, this will allow you to think through your deadlines, complete what needs to be done immediately and eventually switch off until the next day.

LOVE YOUR JOB

love worlIt seems pretty simple, but in order to enhance you work-life balance it is important to enjoy what you do. For many people, work-life balance is interchangeable with boring-fun balance and this should not be the case. Work should provide an inspiring environment to enhance your skills and knowledge, which will increase your control in your role, and with this control you can achieve a better balance.

BE POSITIVE

positiAll of the above will help you to achieve a desirable work-life balance, however as I mentioned in the introduction, the main driving factor is you. Having a positive mental attitude will give you the enthusiasm and energy to plan ahead, try new sports and organise activities. You will be the envy of your colleagues, friends and not to mention your new teammates.

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10 tips to ease the stress when moving house


I moved in with my boyfriend this week. Taking the step to move in with a boy (man, sorry Matt) is stressful enough, so I decided to make the process of packing up my worldly belongings and moving them elsewhere as stress free as possible.

I have 10 top tips which are probably just common sense, but when the overwhelming sensation of “OH MY GOD I AM MOVING IN LESS THAN A WEEK” takes over, they might come in handy:

So accurate!

Declutter. About a week before the moving date, I spent a while looking round my flat thinking, I really do not have much stuff and made a mental list of everything I wanted to take. When I got about 3 minutes in, I quickly began putting clothes in to charity shop and wardrobe piles. It took about three evenings, but bit by bit I managed to go through A LOT of clothes, out of date toiletries, unused kitchen appliances and dusty books.The key is to be BRUTAL! Instead of rushing and panicking it was actually quite therapeutic and fulfilling only keeping things I actually use, want & might need some day e.g. the pirate costume that I wore for Halloween two years ago.

Inaccurate

Inaccurate

Begin packing process prior to moving date. Once I got rid of unwanted bits and bobs, packing was not actually too bad. I mean it wasn’t quite how Sex and the City portrayed it – there was no Champagne or costume changes. By packing bit by bit and room by room I managed to have a final clear out and knew exactly what I was taking with me. Tip within a tip: make sure you know what your next home contains, prior to moving in. You do not want to double up on things, but also do not want to throw away something only to realise your new flat does not have a clothes horse.

Ugly, but efficient!

Ugly, but efficient!

Get some boxes. It is all very well and good sorting through belongings, however if you do not have any boxes to put them in, your efforts are no use to anyone. I managed to take a few from work and asked around the local supermarkets. Nothing like a cardboard box to help moving more simple. They are a great shape to pack a car and you can write the contents on the box.

Accurate pleading face...

Accurate pleading face…

Rope in as many loved ones as possible. I do not know how my flat mate and I would have moved out of our flat without our dads and my boyfriend. The number of combined tip runs was quite impressive. My mum then saved the day when she arrived at our new flat with a lamb casserole and helped us unpack. Within 24 hours we had cleared one flat and made our new home look and feel like home – it was a huge team effort and would have taken 10 times as long if we tried to do it by ourselves.

Lifesaver!

Lifesaver!

Gumtree. Here is a tip about the tip, you will not be allowed to enter the tip and dump belongings if you are using a van. It is stupid. Sophs lovely dad, Ian and Matt were sat outside of the tip in Ian’s van with our two sofas wondering what to do. Matt quickly put an advert on Gumtree offering two free sofas with delivery a time limit of 30 minutes. Within 5 minutes he received 3 requests and they went to offload our sofas onto the next lovely owner. We probably should have done this sooner and could have made quite a bit of money if we would have been more organised, but it was a lifesaver.

So chic!

So chic!

Buy ‘boxes’ pre moving in. This is a different kind of box. There is nothing better than unpacking toiletries in to little baskets and clothes in to even bigger baskets. This is something that can be done after moving in, but if you are like me and like to unpack as quickly as possible then having gems such as this little cheeky purchase from Asda will make unpacking less of a chore.

Do people still send change of address cards?

Take a moving day. There is a lot of life admin to sort out when moving house most importantly notifying the world that your address has changed -the bank, phone company, the council, insurance company, new look….etc. Meter readings are a nightmare if you aren’t actually in your house. It just gives you some extra time to discover hidden corners and move things around until you find the perfect spot.

My favourite candle!

My favourite candle!

Buy lots of smellies. No matter how much the previous tenants cleaned the house, the building will always carry their smell for a while. I wanted the flat to smell fresh and clean and therefore I bought a serious amount of candles, incense sticks, plug ins, sprays- pretty much every smelly thing that Wilks had to offer. My friend came over for tea yesterday evening and the first thing she said when she walked in was “It smells amazing in here”. JOB DONE!

Sounds about right!

Sounds about right!

Buy bare necessities. Luckily I had my mum on hand to remind me of this one. When you are busy moving everything in the last thing you think about it what you will need once you have actually settled. Top of my list – loo roll, hand towel, hand soap, toothpaste, milk, teabags and of course WINE.

Such a happy little face!

Such a happy little face!

Enjoy moving in. Something Matt had to remind me a couple of times is that not everything has to be in order straight away. If you don’t buy the perfect cushions and blankets within 2 days of moving in, it is not the end of the world. Actually its better to shop around a little and find something perfect!

Home is where LOVE resides, where MEMORIES are created, FRIENDS are always welcome and Laughter never ends….

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