The British Way of Thinking

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Being typically British…we moan…a lot! Conversations will contain something negative and we’ll soon find ourselves absorbed into a negative way of thinking.

“This isn’t going the way I want”,

or

“I deserve this”.

Life generally isn’t going the way we planned.

But whilst lost in this bitter way of thinking, life is passing us by.

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We turn on the TV in the morning, instantly fed negative news stories where reporters find the most minute of things that are wrong with this world.

Yet all the great things go unpublished.

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Social media feeding our minds with ideal lives we haven’t got.

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But what have we got?

Exactly that.

Life.

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We can wake up each morning, whether that be to rain or sunshine, to live another day.

We may not all be travelling around the world.

We may not all be able to afford a CHANEL wardrobe.

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We may not feel we possess the ideal looks everyone admires to have.

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But what does everyone reading this have?

We have a life to fulfil. 

Fill full of laughing until you can’t breathe.

Fill full of laying around when the sky turns from a sunset to become full of stars.

Fill full of doing rather than overthinking the ‘what ifs’ first.

Change “What can I do today” to “what can I do for someone else today?”.

Not being so quick to pass judgement when you don’t know the full story. It never truly boosts your self-confidence does it?

Sticking to what you love and not changing to conform to the majority, so wear last season’s clothes because they make you feel good about yourself.

Wear the outfit that’s a little bit ‘out-there’, which has been sitting on your private Pinterest board for months.

Try everything out of your comfort zone, because what have you really got to lose? You might decide to put it on the “Not a Fan’ list or find your newest obsession.

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Whatever life we have been give, it’s important to make the most of it. Cliche, but it’s true.

Sometimes you’ve just got to run…

 

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I used to hate running. A jog around my local park would be enough to make my lungs cry…and now I’m training for a triathlon.

How things change!

I can’t pin point exactly when that change happened, but things have changed. All I do know is that I started to do something a little different from just riding bikes all the time. As great as that can be, sometimes I like to mix things up.

If you’ve been on my Instagram this week you’ll have seen all of the running I have been doing this week. With one of those runs being a little out of my depth…

I woke up with the urge to do sprints. Don’t ask me why, but I did. A choice between 20/10 intervals and 3 minute intervals, I chose the latter.

Both were workout sessions on my Garmin, so off I went to start the 10 minute warm-up at a steady pace. Constantly looking down at my watch to see how long I had left I had to up my pace.

3.4 miles later…my watch was beeping at me to tell me my workout was complete, which came as a surprise to me as I thought there were more sets to come.

Most people would start to head home after this, but I decided to run a little bit further…

Bad…bad idea.

It turns out I ran a further 5.4 miles, so totalling up to nearly 9 miles I’d covered a lot more distance than I would normally. I just switched off and kept going!

Yes I moan, but sometimes you’ve just got to run.

London at Christmas Part 1: Chelsea

Walking out of South Kensington Station we were confronted by a Lamborghini garage and a Bentley driving past….we were definitely in Chelsea. Uniform buildings three or four floors high with flower boxes on each window. Paved pathways passing the many gates providing access to the six-figure Chelsea houses. Steps up to their painted doors and Christmas wreaths hanging from their iron cast door-knockers.

It was a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, which we’d accidentally found ourselves on the night before.

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We had no real agenda in Chelsea, I just wanted to go there. Ok it might slightly have something to do with the fact I watch Made in Chelsea on a regular basis…but anyway that’s not the point.

I was just in awe of how pretty it all was. How a few miles away you can be crammed in amongst hundreds of people all trying to get to different places. Then you have, Chelsea with multiple picturesque streets empty till the homeowners return from work.

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Granted the shops contains price tags way above what I could afford, the money I’d spent in Urban Outfitters in Selfridges the night before seemed somewhat mediocre. I think I got lucky with this outfit though because Selfridge’s price tags had quite a few 0’s on the end too!

I felt serious guilt buying this outfit (skirt and jumper photographed) but I knew it would be one of those things I’d regret not buying.

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So our trip round Chelsea was more of just a wander, but we did manage to wander round places like the Saatchi Art Gallery as well as having a tasty lasagne in POCO on the Duke of York’s Square. From the craziness of central London the night before it was nice to see some of the quieter parts of the big city.

 

Bike Maintenance & Driving Tests

This week I finally passed my driving test, which is surprising with how nervous I was not just throughout the test but all day…

To take my mind off the test I got to work on my road bike. Despite having just left a job where I was predominantly building bikes in a workshop, I didn’t work on my own bikes all that much.

So I got rid of the squeak coming from the headset on my road bike….

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For me cycling is more than just a sport I participate in. Encouraging girls to enjoy being active and being outdoors is just as important.

Growing up I couldn’t quite decide whether being a ‘tomboy’ or ‘girly’ suited me best. When most girls ‘found’ make-up, I still had scars on my shins from many failed attempts to keep up with my brother on my bike. Social media was beginning to grow in popularity and I felt I had to act a certain way to be considered ‘normal’. I’d go from being outgoing and loud, to being crippled by nerves with the many judgemental comments I thought might be fired back at me going through my head. Even the smallest comments stuck with for a long time. Some of them still do.

Finding bikes changed that.

I’ve had those rare runs where I’m at the top of a Downhill track and I’m completely tuned in to what’s around me and what lays ahead. Riding on instinct instead of thinking how I can get to the bottom as soon as possible. Relaxing into corners and saving wash-outs. All of a sudden how I looked or acted wasn’t important. Chasing adrenalin was.

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When I got a message of Lizzie, who I use to go to school with, I jumped at the chance to talk at her Girl Guides & Brownies group about helping the girls get out on their bikes this Summer. If I could encourage even just one of these girls to go and ride her bike this Summer, it would be worth it.

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I started the talk by asking the girls to attach labels I’d made to the parts of the bike they thought they might be. Seeing them so willing to get involved was quite humbling.

After going through how to check their bikes were safe to what is good to put in their backpacks, Q&A’s followed. With them asking so many good (and sometimes difficult to answer!) questions, I hope they have the most amazing Summer out on their bikes! Talking in front of a lot of people isn’t exactly a strong point of mine, but they were so polite and a credit to their families & Lizzie.

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Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet

Is it just me who looks for staple pieces they want in their wardrobe for years before actually finding what they want? Cut-off denim shorts, ripped skinny jeans, a boho playsuit….just to name a few! And I have now got all of them after raiding H&M and Primark a few months back. But my ‘Want List’ is a lot longer than that!

I’m at a point with my wardrobe where it needs a serious update. My lack of growth spurts means I haven’t actually grown out of many clothes from my teenage years. But turning 20 in July…it’s probably time I looked my age!

Cue Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet!

My favourite places to have shopped this year are Liverpool, London and Cheshire Oaks. The Pull & Bear shop and H&M in Liverpool are amazing! And don’t get me started on Appletree Boutique on Portobello Road in London! (Click HERE to read about my trip to London!)

Shopping in Liverpool and London are fairly recent, but I’ve always loved going to Cheshire Oaks. I’m obsessed with Nike high-tops so the Outlet store in Cheshire Oaks is the place I’ll go to get them.

But for this trip I wasn’t really planning on buying anything. That was before I realised the new Ralph Lauren store had opened…

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Exploring Ralph Lauren

I don’t know when my obsession with Ralph Lauren started. Probably from spending the majority of my childhood in Cheshire…it’s like a second home. But regardless, I wander round their newly-built store admiring the brightly coloured, clean-cut designs they’re known for.

From my trip to Appletree Boutique in London I picked up a flowery skater skirt which was pastel in colour. It was too pretty to leave behind, but I realised I haven’t got much to go with it. I had a pale pink chiffon vest top in mind which I managed to find wandering round RL and picked up the shirt above to try on too. Pink and green probably shouldn’t work together…but it does!

Now the price. I felt rather guilty paying £39.99 for a shirt. But then I thought how much I’d end up wearing it, which would probably be a lot! I’ve already got one shirt from RL and it still looks great after a few years. That’s what I mean by those staple pieces for my wardrobe. Things I’ll wear a lot and go with more than one thing in my wardrobe. Things that will last rather than only being ‘on-trend’ for a few months. Timeless pieces are always winners in my eyes.

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Joules Jumper £34.95

Back to my Cheshire roots, Joules was a brand I was around a lot growing up. It’s a brand I remember my Aunty wearing a lot and I adore the vibrant fabrics they create their well-made pieces from. And a Joules jumper has been on my ‘Want List’ for a long time! The way it’s cut makes it extremely comfy and the fabric is soft to touch. Part of ‘maturing’ my wardrobe is going to be sorting through my countless amount of hoodies. This subtle design for a jumper is something I can’t wait to wear on trips to the beach for BBQ’s which I’m hoping to do this Summer. And come Autumn I’ll pair it with my spotty purple Joule’s ankle wellies walking my crazy chocolate Labrador.

Wandering round with Amy we soon ended up back where we started. Quite confused wondering how we got round so quickly. The benefit of going in the week when no school holidays are on I guess!

Some of the other shops we went into included the Yankee Candle shop and Whittard’s Tea. I’ve never been a big drinker of tea, but after getting hooked on Lemon Green Tea a few months back that’s starting to change.

On a table as you walk into the Whittard Tea shop is a display of their Cranberry & Raspberry, Turkish Apple and Dreamtime Tea. I was particularly drawn to the Dream Time tea as it contained Vanilla which I am a big fan of. You could try the other two teas which were both quite sweet to taste, but lovely all the same. After my mini shopping spree I decided I should make up a ‘Birthday List’. Not that I expect anything but it’s always awkward when you get asked what you would like for your birthday and you genuinely have no idea.

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Further into the shop you could also try their Milk Chocolate and White Chocolate flavours of Hot Chocolate. It was heavenly! The White Chocolate took me right back to being a child and eating Milky Bars. The image of the Milky Bar kid instantly popped into my head. Two more things to add to the ‘Birthday List’…

Looking around the Yankee Candle shop was just as fun. Some scents that stood out for me were Sahara Sands and Kilimanjaro Stars. The first one being fresh and a fairly light smell where as the latter had a bit of a stronger scent to it. I resisted from buying any though as I already have Yankee Candles which I received as Christmas presents to use!

All shopped out we headed to ‘Giraffe‘, which celebrates food from around the world. Not wanting anything too heavy on the stomach I went for a ‘Surf’s Up Sarnie’ whilst Amy went for the BBQ Chicken Quesadilla. The food there is so tasty! We also had smoothies and I’ll definitely be trying to re-mae the one I had. The ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’ that consisted of pineapple, passion fruit, mango, banana and pomegranate juice. I will most certainly be going back to ‘Giraffe’ as the relaxed vibe there was perfect to have a long-awaited catch-up with Amy.

So considering I wasn’t planning on buying anything, I would say I had a pretty successful day. One step closer to that ‘Grown-Up’ wardrobe…ha!

 

Opinions. Not Facts.

“The less you care about what other people think, the better life becomes.”

A saying I’ve heard time and time again, but acting on it is another question. Even more so nowadays with the likes of social media allowing people to post their opinions daily.

Opinions.

Not facts.

Which is what many tend to forget.

Instead of accepting someone’s lifestyle, no matter how much it differs to your own.

Everyone is writing their own story. You might be in one chapter of that story or many. But it’s up to them to decide on that.

No matter who passes judgement on where you’ve been or where you’re heading. Family. Friends. People who barely know you at all. The only person who can write your story is you.

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Chaos Causing Four-Legged Friends

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The master of facial expressions!

They bound into our lives and with Jenson? Well he just caused chaos from day one!

‘It’s rather quiet in the house right now….’

‘The dog! Where’s the dog!’

If it went quiet in our house when he was a puppy, you’d instantly know he was up to no good!

Dragging towels into the living room that Mum was trying to put into the washing machine.

Running off with her slippers!

Having tantrums by tipping his toy box all over the floor. There are a million tennis balls in his toy box but he’s always after a certain one!

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Talacre Beach, North Wales

Life is never straight forward when a chocolate Labrador is thrown into the mix.

After a trip to Talacre beach with my brother and the hound I remembered coming with Jenson to the beach when he was a puppy. And realised how much he HASN’T changed!

He still tried to dig to Australia! He still got covered in sand head to toe. The only thing that changed was he swam a bit further out to sea. To retrieve his tennis ball…of course!

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My Joules wellies!

And people still think he’s a puppy…he’s nearly 4! Yet I wouldn’t have him any other way. I hope he never stops knocking everything over around the house with his waggy tail because of how excited he is that everyone is finally home.

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Talacre Beach Lighthouse, North Wales

Our four-legged friends give so much and all they expect is companionship…and in Jenson’s case…food! Lots of food! His brain is constantly thinking about food..ha!

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London

I’d only been in London 2 minutes and David Beckham walked past abandoning his Bentley on the side of one of the many busy roads in London. 


With a fashion sample sale to head to first that took up a lot of the day, but didn’t stop me stumbling across Portobello Road. A road I knew had some significance in London, but I was sure what. Walking along it I could see the attraction. Market stalls and every colour in the rainbow filling the street. And lovely people to match just trying to make their way in the world. The shops were like little hidden gems. Full of unique things I wouldn’t find back at home. Everything from edgy urban styling to the pastel coloured garments I love filling my wardrobe with. Appletree Boutique to be precise. 

After photographing Portobello Road from every possible angle it was time to head to Camden Town. A place I didn’t know much about, but was full of cultures from around the world. And people from around the world too. I rarely heard a British accent. Old London is one way I’d describe it. Aged bricks and mortar that was sky high made bright by the cultural items on sale. I didn’t buy much here but it was good to explore the place and fill the film on my Mum’s Canon EOS 500. 


Then we found ourselves in Regents Park, which sparked up a memory of some writing I did on my first trip to London. I was just sitting on one of the benches with my notebook and pen in hand. I’d always wanted to write, it just took me a few years to write anything worth reading. I even recognised which bench I was sat on as my shy teenage self. Dodgy haircut and fashion sense to match. 


The sun was setting and yet so many people were still out and about. Walking. Running. Socialising face to face and not through a screen. It’s kind of sad these days people spend more time talking via Facebook Messenger rather than face to face. Conversations with people when they’re right in front of you always have more meaning. Work to live and not live to work I suppose. Yes you might be tired after work, but can watching a television screen really have any comparison to seeing friends and family. Or even just being outside? 


There was still the rumble of traffic not to far away but it was still peaceful with the birds chirping away. And it was only at this point I heard numerous British accents. Which was quite odd really.

So London might seem an unsociable place to some, but it’s sparked up my thoughts into wanting to be a bit more sociable rather than keeping in touch by typing a message into my phone.