Let’s start at the beginning.

At times, life can be amazing: You have your family, your friends, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your husband, your wife, travel, memories, experiences that shape you as an individual, make you smile, make you laugh until you cry and anything and everything in between. Life is something that you have to make the most of and by doing that, you feel fulfilled and happy, which is all we ever want.

Life is crazy, unexpected and beautiful: It’s something that is gifted to us and there are so many incredible places to see and so many exciting things to do that the world really is our oyster. The more we put into our lives, the more we get out of it which is definitely a sort of mantra I try to live by.

But at the same time, life can be really fucking tough (excuse my French) and can make you crumble into a million different pieces and emotions that you never even thought were possible. The unexpectedness can shock you into a sense of the unknown, not being able to trust that you will come out of the other side. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to people I know and it’s happened to strangers close to home and around the world.

One of the worst cliches I have ever heard is that time heals all wounds, and although I do believe that tragedies do get easy the more time that passes (or maybe that we learn how to deal with our emotions better?) our wounds never fully heal, as our lives are without that person or that one experience that meant so much to us.

Human beings are resilient little things, it has to be said, and we learn to bounce back from disaster whether it takes a month or a decade, and although bouncing back is a huge step in itself, sometimes we can fall right back into the sense of the unfamiliar causing a sense of anxiety and uneasiness.

One of the best things about life is the unexpected twists and turns that can lead you on a completely different path; a path that you didn’t even know existed, but a path that could either be a make it or break it experience for you, or one that leads you to a place that you never knew existed, which could either be positive or not.

When my best friend passed away two years ago today, I thought I would never bounce back. It was completely out of the blue and unexpected; but here I am today, having accepted that even the nicest people in the world can have horrible things happen to them – and although I’m not saying I’m one of them, I do believe that I didn’t do anything to experience such heartbreak and that I needed to give myself a break.

During that time I was scared: Scared to open up about my feelings in case I offended someone who was going through something that was worse than me; scared to be vulnerable, but also scared to show that sometimes I was doing ok, and getting through to the other side in case people judged me and expected me to be sadder than I was – but in reality, we all go through these things in our own personal way, and no one knows how you are coping but yourself.

I feared the unknown because I was scared my life could be shaken up all over again but I also felt guilty to live how I wanted to live. I felt guilty if people saw me out and I looked happy: I felt guilty to laugh or enjoy myself: I felt guilty to get on with living my life, but in reality that is all she would have ever wanted.

Life can be a whole host of overwhelming emotions and taking the time to realise this and how to react to them is definitely something I have learnt more in the past couple of years than ever before. Grief may alter us as people, but in the long run, we are still the same person deep down, and we can’t lose sight of that. Life does go on, and as selfish as you might think you are being, you need to make the most of your days on this earth.

Two years have passed since the worst day of my life, and although there are times where I feel down and I go back to that night, I’m also so proud of how far I’ve come, and even reading this post from last year has cemented the fact that I am doing ok.

We can’t predict the future, and as scary as that may be as it might hold a whole array of mixed emotions, it can also be an exciting epitome that you have no idea what is around the corner. Fearing the unexpected is completely and utterly normal but it also exhausting and zaps your energy of how you really want to live your life, and how happy you could become if you lived in the moment.

No one is taught how to deal with the rollercoaster of emotions that life throws at you, that’s the beauty of having your own experiences and growing up, but at the end of the day, you are a fucking awesome human being, whether you have been through the mill and back or not, it doesn’t matter – you are incredible and don’t you ever forget it.

xx

One of the best things about going abroad is completely immersing yourself in the culture of another place. There are so many beautiful places and people to discover in the world, and every time I go somewhere new, I try to make sure I try to explore as much as possible to enrich my time there.

A really good way to learn more about a place you have travelled to is to go to a local festival, which could be cultural, food, music or anything in between where you can observe the local’s way of life and have a real experience.

Today I’ve rounded up some of the festivals I think sound really interesting that hopefully, I’ll get to visit one day.

La Tomatina, Spain

This festival is something I’ve seen on TV and adverts, but one that I wasn’t sure exactly what happened or what the point of it was. In short, participants throw tomatoes at each other, just for the fun of it and all the locals from all age groups join in.

The festival is held in August in the Valencian town of Buñol and lasts for around an hour, when fire trucks hose the tomato-splattered streets down. The tomatoes must be pressed down first in order not to cause damage to who it is thrown at. It started back in 1945 where some young boys raided a fruit and veg stand and has become a local tradition.

Bastille Day, France

Bastille Day is celebrated in France on the 14th July and is a national holiday for the country. The day symbolises the storming of the Bastille on 14th July 1789 which was a turning point for the French Revolution.

The day starts with a military parade on the Champs Elysees in Paris and is attended by French officials and foreign guests. This morning tradition dates back to 1878.

The whole country of France come together for this day to celebrate, but there are also worldwide ceremonies that take place from India through to Canada ranging from firework displays to two-day long celebrations.

Sarigerme Kite Festival, Turkey

There is something about seeing kites that reminds me of visiting my Grandparents when I was younger and flying our kite on the beach they lived close to. A traditional Turkish festival, Sarigerme, holds an annual kite festival on the beach that fills the sky with around 100 different kites of all sizes and all different kinds of different colours: The festival also holds a competition for the best handmade kite.

I’ve been to Turkey once before and the country fascinated me as somewhere unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been to and I’d love to go back and explore this vast country more.

Carnival, Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria may not be one of the places that you think would have a popular local festival, but the carnival of Las Palmas is one of the most popular Spanish festivals there are. The celebration is held in February every year and is full of life, music and colour.

The theme of the carnival is magic and fantastic creates and is celebrated in different parts of the island, ranging from north to south. Find out more about Gran Canaria holidays here.

Benicassim, Barcelona

One of the most fun weeks of my life was when I went to a Polish music festival the month after I finished university. Since then, I’ve always opted for a city break or a slightly longer holiday when it comes to my annual leave, but what could be better than seeing your favourite bands in the sunshine, on a beach?

Benicassim has always been a festival that I’ve heard great things about and its definitely high up on my list to visit in the next couple of years, especially as I loved Barcelona the last time I went: The lineup always seems to be really good too, which is just an added bonus to the overall experience.

I hope this post has inspired you to look into some traditional festivals the next time you go away.

This post was written in collaboration with Holiday Gems

I feel as though June has been such a manic month, and this week was definitely one of the busiest. I turned 28 on Wednesday and spent the few days around it celebrating before heading to the lakes for a weekend of chilling with my love.

Here’s everything I was loving last week.

Team Lunch

My lovely work girls decorated my desk this week for my birthday, bought me a gorgeous candle which I’ve been wanting for ages, took me out for lunch and surprised me with cake for breakfast – they certainly know how to make a girl feel special!

Birthday In London

I spent my actual birthday on a work trip to London, but I actually had a really lovely time and even got to see one of my friends who lived down there. It’s not every day you can say you spent your birthday on the 29th floor of a building looking out over London whilst in a meeting.

Charlotte Street Hotel

My parents also happened to be in London on Wednesday so I met them for dinner at the Charlotte Street Hotel just off Oxford Road. My lovely friends Erin and Lily also came to meet us for a drink and it was really nice to catch up with them both. Also, the hotel itself was a really lovely place if you fancy a drink or some food if you’re in the capital.

Goldsmiths Event

On Thursday evening, I attended a bridal event at Goldsmiths in the Trafford Centre to learn about their new collection which is inspired by different brides and their styles. We learnt about timeless, vintage and modern looks and saw flower arrangements, makeup and hairstyles for the different ones. It was really interesting to see the different types of looks and figuring out which represents me the most.

Lake District

This weekend was spent in the Lake District, just outside of Keswick, which is somewhere I’ve visited before. We had such a relaxing time and I feel it is just what I needed to re-set my mindset and have some well-needed rest. We wandered around Keswick too on our second day and it was lovely to reminisce about the last time we were there.

Keswick Reach 

I couldn’t mention the Lake District without talking about Keswick Reach Log Retreat which is where we were very kindly invited to stay. From the moment we drove in until the moment we left, everything was so perfect and the staff went above and beyond to make us feel welcome, including leaving me birthday cakes, chocolate tiffin, a birthday card and bottle of fizz.

Oxley’s Health Spa

Jordan surprised me on Saturday with a trip to a spa which I had absolutely no idea about. We visited Oxley’s Spa which was about a 20-minute drive from where we were staying and it was such a lovely day. The pool was so relaxing, the lunch was incredible and I had a pedicure as well which was a lovely treat.

The Girls

Whilst I was in the lakes, I started a new book, The Girls by Emma Cline, and I’m really loving it already. I used to read so much a couple of years ago, but now I find when I get in bed I’m already so tired that all I want to do is fall straight to sleep so I’m going to make a real effort to try and read more as it helps me to switch off.

What have you been loving this week?

Every house is completely different – that’s the beauty of putting your stamp on something you call your home. Jordan and I have been in our house now for coming up to 18 months, and I can’t believe where the time has gone: It feels like just yesterday we were dreaming of being homeowners and then the next minute, we’ve been living in our own little space for months.

When we were looking for our home, we had a list of what we wanted, what we were willing to sacrifice and what would one day be on our wishlist. We saw all kinds of different houses, from cute little terraces to slightly bigger semi-detached to some which needed a lot of work doing them – and everything in between.

Although a lot of first-time buyers do buy a ‘doer-upper’, renovating a whole house wasn’t on our list for something we were after, mainly due to having to borrow more money, and not having the bandwidth to be able to complete such a big project whilst working full time; and as much as I like a challenge, I thought that taking on a project that big would be a bit too much to handle.

Since we bought our home, there have been little bits and pieces that we have done here and there, but more in a cosmetic sense such as painting different rooms, hanging up pictures and investing in some prints. However, the longer we live here for, it’s becoming more apparent that there are bigger projects that I’d like to undertake on the house when the time is right.

I’d been having a browse on Pinterest for home renovations inspiration (because why not…) and a website that kept coming up, again and again, was Three Counties who specialise in conservatories, windows and doors. Click here to learn more about them.

A conservatory isn’t something I’d ever considered for our house, but it definitely is something that would not only add value in the long run but would also allow us to make better use of the garden in summer, and also in the colder months too – and as a bonus, the cats would love it probably even more than we would! We’re quite lucky that our garden is a square, so doing something like this leading out from the kitchen wouldn’t be a problem.

When I looked into the different options they provide, I realised that a simple conservatory could be even more spectacular than I imagined: They have so many different options ranging from orangeries (a combination of a traditional home extension and conservatory) to glass extensions (a modern take, adding a high-performance glass veranda) and latern roofs (a window structure that lets in a lot of light) all of which would add the wow factor to any home.

Obviously, these dreams are just a distant wish at the moment, whilst we save for the wedding, but home renovations are something I would like to start planning in the next couple of years to make our house as homely as possible.

Have you ever considered a home renovation? What would you go for?

This post was written in collaboration with Three Counties. Visit their website to learn more.

So today is my 28th birthday… The big 28 – except… no one really celebrates it as a landmark age do they?

Although it’s not a monumental age and isn’t as much of a big one as 21 or 30, it does mark a significant time in my life. It’s been the realisation that I’ve been ‘grown up’ for longer than I’ve noticed, and that adult life has managed to creep up and plant it’s seed without me even realising.

It’s been 10 years since I’ve legally been allowed to drink, 10 years since I went to university and over 10 years since I’ve been driving; for the past 6 years as well that I’ve been trying to carve myself some sort of career – so it does seem like quite a big one in a way.

I’ve never massively been into birthdays and I don’t fear getting older at all. If I’m completely honest, with working so far in advance with the wedding, I’ve already been thinking that I turned 28 a while ago, and when people ask me my age, that’s usually my go-to answer.

Becoming an adult is something I’ve talked about on the blog before. It’s such a smooth transition that you barely even realise it, but in reality, I expected to wake up one day feeling completely different; when that day never came though, I started to consider that maybe I had been a grown-up for longer than I’d even realised.

The thing with being an adult is, no one tells you how to do it, no one congratulates you when you’ve done something right, and no one is there to ask when you’re stumped (except my trusty friend Google) – it’s a bit of a learning curve that we all go through.

Growing up has never been something that bothers me: I always wanted to own my own house, have a family, good friends, little fur babies, to go on holiday, and yet in the past few years, I’ve been doing all these things that I used to class as being ‘grown up’ without even recognising I was doing them.

But 28 does mark something exciting for me and that’s stability. I am in a stable job, making a stable income; I have stable friendships and a stable relationship; I have a stable view of where my life is going and what I want to achieve in the next few years and it’s a really interesting time for me.

It’s no lie that time seems to go ridiculously quickly, but is that because we aren’t making the most of it?

As much as I love a weekend at home doing nothing, pottering about and not having any plans, I also love to be outdoors, exploring new places, eating good food at amazing restaurants, driving somewhere exciting, seeing friends and family – I like to make memories.

In my 28 years, I’ve made more memories than I thought possible. I’ve made lifelong friendships, found my soulmate, made a path for myself, and it’s been such an exciting time in my life that I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.

I guess this is growing up?