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12 Habits - Veganuary

Instead of doing traditional resolutions this year, I decided to do 12 'habits' - one a month. This was an idea adapted from Emma Gunn's excellent podcast - last year she tried 26 habits, a new one every two weeks, with interesting results. I decided to try 12 as I think changing every 2 weeks won't see as much benefit, and I've heard that research shows it takes 21 days to make a habit stick, so 12 habits makes more sense to me.

January's habit was Veganuary. I tried Veganuary last year and must have enjoyed it. I can't actually remember - are my brain cells being fried by all the time I spend Googling 'Are Chillis water bottles better than other water bottles?' and 'leopard print hat', rather than doing brain training exercises? Anyway,  I thought I would do it again this year. Mainly because the way animals are treated for mass food production is definitely terrible, all of the methane is horrible for the planet and so on.

This year, it was a big old struggle. I craved chocolate like crazy. My colleagues brought in a plethora of delicious looking treats and I couldn't have any of them (I have saved a Tupperware of them to eat on February 1st though, I'm not an idiot). I went for a Sunday pub lunch and had to have boiled potatoes instead of roast. Boiled potatoes. Instead of roast.

Therefore, I have decided I am not going to continue with Veganuary past January, and so this is the first habit I will not be sticking to.

I fully applaud those who are vegans, as mentioned I think it is great for the animals and the environment. I am already a vegetarian and have been for 26 years but I find being vegan too restrictive. I love food and cooking, and whilst vegan meals are by no means tasteless and boring as a rule, not being able to add a bit of cheese now and again or not indulging in a cake is not the kind of life I want to live on a permanent basis.

(As an aside, it is worth mentioning the air miles and resources it takes to provide a lot of fruit and veg which make up vegan meals, as well as worker conditions during production - nothing is black and white and just because fewer animals are suffering this doesn't automatically negate any human suffering which might occur.)

So to sum up, my plan is to cut down on my dairy intake, and eat less chocolate (I think my skin has benefited from Veganuary, although that could just be the fact that the indulgences of Christmas are over) but I'm not going to put a label on it. No matter how many times I read stuff which tries to convince me vegan cheese is just as good as regular cheese, I can't get on board. Reducing is the way forward for me for currently.

P.S. I'll deffo still be getting VEGO bars as a treat though. Man they are good. Which they should be for £1.99 a bar!!!!!!!

P.P.S See also vegan Ben and Jerry's at £4.99 a tub!!!!!

P.P.S On the cheaper end of the scale, Greggs vegan sausage rolls are also delectable but I sure do wish they would stop selling out


Helpful wedding tips for normal people

Did you know that 60% of engagements happen over Christmas? Spoiler alert, I just made that statistic up in my own head, however, my social media feeds assure me that there are many engagements that happen over Christmas. In fact, I just googled it as my fake news made me curious to know the actual facts, and it turns out 40% of proposals happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day, so turns out I was definitely almost 100% accurate and am, in fact, a genius.

ANYWAY, seeing that we have well established that there are a lot of happy couples come January, I thought this might be the perfect time to divulge some top wedding tips, from a normal person who got married, planned it all and didn't have a Kardashian sized budget. I know hardly anyone does, but you wouldn't think it from reading wedding magazines and social media - 10 foot peony adorned cake wall anyone?

To the tips!

1. Accept you might not LOVE your dress

I wrote a whole post about this when I was planning my wedding back in 2015, so have a look at that for an in depth analysis, but to sum up, wedding dress shopping is not like in the movies, and in reality you may have to choose the best dress available from the options you find (and it makes little difference to how good a wedding day you will have!) Accessories are your friend - you can make your dress so much more 'you' with a well placed adornment or seven.

2. Consider other people but also yourselves

I feel like advice about this is usually a bit too black and white, either 'if your parents are paying they deserve to invite millions of people you've never met' to 'ignore your mum she doesn't know what's good for you'! I think there can be a nice middle ground - for example, my mum really wanted me to have a cake, I wasn't so bothered. To make her happy we got a cheap (ish - it has the word wedding before it after all) cake from M&S which the florist decorated for us. Turns out, we got one of my favourite photos out of it because my hungry nephew stood behind it with his mouth wide open whilst we were cutting it and it was super funny - win/win. Money can be a tricky subject, especially if you don't have a particularly close relationship with your parents. Personally, I am of the belief that if someone gives you money towards a wedding they should give it without an agenda, but I get that this just isn't the reality for some people. So try and find a middle ground - talking openly and honestly is always the best way forward in my opinion.

3. Realise you can’t see the venue beforehand

You can plan until you're dreaming in spreadsheets, but the thing with a wedding is there ain't no rehearsal. Unless you're American and you literally do have a rehearsal dinner. Is that an actual rehearsal of the wedding though? Americans let a girl know. Anyway, I digress. I planned my table decorations down to the last sprinkle of confetti but on the day, turns out the tables were big and the small centrepieces felt a bit lost, the table name cards were a bit floppy and my 'F & R' signs leaned to the side. None of this really matters of course, but I'm not going to lie and say I didn't notice. In hindsight, I would have done a mock up table setting at home, and tweaked to my heart's content.

4. Flip flops are your friend

One of the best things I did was put a basket of flip flops on the dance floor. People LOVED it. I realise I didn't make this idea up, but i'm telling you it was a winner.

5. The food will cost the most

Remember that even if you decide to get married in January, you get your dress from a charity shop and your mum grows your flowers, it will always be feeding and watering people that will cost the most. The more people you have, the more it will cost. You kind of have to decide to have a big wedding and invite your entire extended family, or have a super small wedding and only invite your immediate family and a few close friends. That middle ground gets awkward hella quickly.

6. Assign someone to feed you

If you don't ask your maid of honour or a bridesmaid to save you a plate of canapes and some of the welcome drinks, you ain't getting none of them. Everyone wants to talk to you, or photograph you. Then in a blink of an eye, it's time for the wedding breakfast and you're starving. Not to mention, girl didn't pay shitloads of good money for something she doesn't get to eat amirite.

7. Get make up/hair trial on a day you’re going out anyway

When else would you get your make up and/or hair done all fancy (and pay for it), then just sit in your front room and watch Netflix? Might as well make the most of your great face and excellent hair - the people deserve to see them.

8. Book a car

I wasn't bothered about this - I'll just book a standard taxi I thought. At the last minute though, I decided I wanted to get something a bit more fancy, and I'm so glad I did! The driver was lovely, he waited patiently for me, helped me carry my dress getting in and out and talked calmly to me and my dad in the car. Your average taxi driver wouldn't have been half as accommodating.

9. Make sure your dad isn’t wearing tinted glasses

Sure, this is quite specific but it's an example of a little detail that can easily be missed - my dad wears the type of glasses that become sunglasses in the sun, and so it looked a bit like he was my bouncer in the getting out of the car photos! The details, THE DETAILS.

10. Realise you will probably spend more

Trust me, you will get carried away. Try to budget a smidge more than you bargained for.

11. Do you need to go far away for your hen do?

This was a good point that a friend who recently got married made. She had her hen do in the next city over, and said that she didn't feel the need to go to a distant place because she wasn't planning on doing anything specific to that location. I thought it was a good point - I went to Newcastle for my hen do and whilst it was so much fun, I didn't do or see anything that was specific to Newcastle. Maybe I could have gone somewhere a bit closer to home that I didn't have to fly to?

I hope these were helpful - looking for photos for this blog post has made me want to have my wedding day all over again!

Happy Planning :)


Autumn is not my fave but it is the best for outfits

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I sure do love summer. Yet the dresses and sandals thing, whilst hella easy, does get a tad on the boring side. Autumn dressing, however, is much more fun. The layers, but also the bare legs. My fave combo. 

Dress layering is my new favourite autumn dressing formula. Midi + layering under piece + cardigan + chunky boots + bare legs = absolute dream. It keeps me cosy on the bus but allows me not to be boiled alive once I get to the office and it's hotter than the sun. 

This dress from Boohoo ticks many of my boxes - leopard print, comfy AF, bright, can be dressed up or down. It will also work with tights when it gets colder and I am forced, against my will, to wear them. I am also in love with this cardigan, which is a Jaeger one I found in the mens section of a charity shop. My eyes lit up when I saw it, I tell thee!

Misty mornings, yellow trees against the blue sky, and getting a hot chocolate on the way to work.

Autumn, you can stay.


Why I love summer but also it scares me

Dress ASOS
Sliders Primark
Bag Primark

Ah summer, the friend I can't wait to see, the friend I've been pining for during the long, LONG dark winter, when even the blossom had snow on. Then suddenly, it's here. It's here in the long nights trying to fall into a sweaty sleep and bright mornings spent getting up at 5:30am to water the garden whilst yawning and listening to Woman's Hour. It's going to Sainsbury's on my lunch break and finally finally finding that picota cherries are back (my personal crack). It's walking in the garden with no shoes on, swinging in my egg chair and getting lost in a book.

But with all this comes a tinge of sadness, a bit of anxiety. Pressure to ENJOY EVERY MOMENT, pictures on Instagram of whimsical walks through wildflowers, holidays to the Amalfi Coast. I'm eating crumpets and watching Love Island. I'm not going to every festival Bristol has to offer, I'm too hot to take a day trip to the beach. Sometimes I do want to have a BBQ or go on a spontaneous night out. But a lot of the time I just want to sit on the sofa in my bra and cycling shorts, talking to my cat. The summer slips on by, and I feel like I'm wasting it. Fomo of nothing and everything.

I feel like this is amplified this year with this amazing weather. When the weather in summer is still a bit shit, it's sad but also it's a tiny bit comforting. I can tell myself I would totally do all these things if it was sunny, but it's not so boo hoo I can't.

But favourite things aren't going to pub gardens or to festivals, not any more. My favourite things are leaving work and it still being light, buying a punnet of peaches for 99p, not having to wear bastard tights. Small things, but important things.

I just enjoy it being summer. Just the fact that it is summer, I like.