Love is in the air! Well, Valentine's Day is round the corner... and while I am a firm believer that love is ace, and you should do nice things all year round, I am a bit of sucker for adorable stationery.
I've rounded up a few of the cutest Valentine's cards I've seen online this year so you can treat your valentine's and your galentine's (ovaries before brovaries)!
I've had such a nice chilled weekend so far. My house is clean and full of fresh flowers (tulips are back, hooray!), and I'm drinking coffee and blogging with a sleepy hedgehog next to me.
All I've got to do today is cycle to my boyfriend's house (hopefully managing to time the ride with a gap in the rain), and then we're watching movies, eating food, and continuing the weekend laziness. I actually love a rainy Sunday, when you hibernate all cosy indoors. They are the best kinds of days!
I hope you're all having a nice weekend (ideally with coffee in hand, and pyjamas still on). Here's some interesting links to read if you are still refusing to get out of bed...
As a kid who grew up in the golden era of Disney films, I'm pretty sure I'm always going to love them. Buttt, researchers have been studying Disney princesses, and have found a pretty major problem.
I really love this. The wisdom and reasoning of why you should have a fuck off fund. This is the first time in my life where I've actually been sensible about saving money (sorry mum). I realised I was spending loads on clothes that I wasn't really wearing, and definitely didn't need, so I'm going to resist lunchtime trips to H&M (unless I have a particular thing I honestly need or want), and start putting that money in savings instead. I'm aiming for a few really ace holidays, but it's good to have a safety net too!
I am DELIGHTED that February is here, and gloomy, stressful January is behind us. I think I might need to invest in a SAD lamp (or move somewhere sunnier!) before next Winter - I really hate the endless dark days at the start of the year, and I'm so much happier when the sky is blue.
Today the sun was actually out, and I'm starting to feel a bit more excited about the year ahead - I'm through one of the most stressful months at work, our programme comes out next week and I have lots of fun things planned. Yay!
January wasn't all doom and gloom though, here's a few colourful moments that kept me going...
1. I was lucky enough to get a sewing machine for Christmas, so to get me started, I bought a copy of the mega cute Love at First Stitch by sewing blogger Tilly and the Buttons. Now, I confess I haven't actually tried to sew yet... I'm a bit scared of getting started! Now that work has chilled out a little bit, I'll hopefully be showing off something I've made this time next month. 2. I've already written about this, but I'm SO pleased with how lovely this room looks! I finally sorted out my study, and it's possibly my favourite room in my flat... I love having a dedicate space for blogging and painting, and it's such a fun, colourful room to be in.
3. My flat is slowly turning into a bit of a jungle, and this carnivorous plant is my newest leafy resident. I love having loads of plants in my flat, I'm currently trying to justify buying a massive fig leaf treefor my living room (but it's pretty pricey, aargh). 4. I celebrated two years with this guy and I'm very happy about it. Yay love! 5. I'm cheating again because I've already blogged this jacket in an outfit post, but it's super cosy and I love my patches so much. I need to try and find a few more outfits that look good with a denim jacket though, I'm in danger of resorting to double denim. 6. Remember when I posted about my bedroom, and mentioned there were a few Double Merrick prints I really wanted for the wall? My wonderful mum read my blog and bought me them for Christmas! I am so pleased, I love them so much and they look brilliant in the room. 7. I dangerously discovered that Edinburgh has an amazing sushi takeaway, which is delicious, but pretty pricey, meaning I'm probably going to bankrupt myself on sushi rolls. It's taken me such a long time to start liking fish, but I'm so glad I eat it now (especially as I can artfully play with my meal on my new whale plate).
8. The weather has been GRIM, which really hasn't helped my January blues. I am really annoyed that big storms are getting named now, because it's making me realise how many massive storms we actually get! Luckily there were a few glimmers of spring... there was a gloriously sunny morning, and my spring bulbs are all coming up. 9. Finally, I dyed my hair dark and I love, love, love it! It's quite a big change, but it's fun to do something different (even if I feel like I'm betrayed my ginger roots!).
Last month I turned 30, which I think (despite all my protests) makes me officially an adult. It's weird being grown up! I have two big sisters (who are 8 and 12 years older than me), and I remember when I was little I wondered how I would feel when I became a PROPER grown up, like they were.
Turns out, I feel exactly the same as I did when I was 20 or 25. I just know a bit more! I've got a bit more money, but a bit less free time. I like olives and fish and wine (good), but hangovers hit me harder (bad).
I've seen a few bloggers do posts like this, and I really like them, so here's my version. 30 things I've learned in 30 years...
1. Fake it 'til you make it
I was a painfully shy teenager. I used to blush horribly when anyone paid attention to me, or anything made me uncomfortable, and I hated it. That lasted until I met my high school BFF Steph (who is still one of my favourite people in the world), and she was brave and cool and I wanted to be like her. So I pretended to be brave and cool too, and it worked!
Turns out this is a technique that works well in so many different aspects of life. If you act like you've got it all sussed, people will believe you! And you'll give yourself the first stepping stone of confidence to actually get out there and do good things.
2. Nothing will work unless you do
I read this in a daft motivational calendar at uni, and it genuinely gave me a bit of a wake up call! This applies to work, your personal life, hobbies, everything. You cannot achieve something unless you put effort into it. It's such a simple statement, but it is easy to forget - especially when you're stressed and just want to hide under the covers and wait for everything to work out. 3. Make the effort with your friends
It's very easy to lose touch with people when you are all busy, working busy jobs, with relationships and slightly different friend groups. But pals are wonderful, and one day you'll realise it's been a whole month or six months or even a year since you last reached out to a particular person. I've been bad for this in my life, but even worse, I used to feel so guilty about letting a friendship slip that I'd be scared to get back in touch. This year I'm determined to stop this happening, and say hello to the people I miss. I know I'd love it if they reached out to me. 4. But don't be scared to cut ties
Saying that, sometimes you lose touch for a reason. People grow apart, or you realise that a friendship is actually super unhealthy or just too much hard work. It is okay to cut people out of your life if they bring you down, are super draining, or you just don't want to be their pal anymore. Just don't be a dick about it.
5. Always have a pet
Animals are the very best thing in the world, and as an adult you can buy whatever pet you want, whenever you want to. How amazing is that?! I really believe that a house doesn't feel like a home unless you've got a pet. I live alone and so having Soba (my very adorable hedgehog) gives me a routine I was missing, of caring for something, and having a little pal to spend time with.
6. Buy a bicycle
Yeah, it's a bit daunting to cycle in a city, but it doesn't take long until you become a badass, confident cyclist that zooms around town! I only really got into my bike two years ago, but I feel a bit helpless whenever I'm without it. In Edinburgh it's often so much quicker to cycle than getting the bus, you don't have to sit near awful commuters in a small, stuffy place, and you can leave at exactly the moment you want - no waiting around at bus stops or for taxis that'll cost you a fortune. Plus, when the weather's nice you can go on big weekend adventures (via nice country pubs). Bikes are ace! 7. Accept that you will sometimes look rubbish in photos
A while ago I came across a stash of photos from when I was about 17 or 18. I remember HATING those photos at the time. I was much curvier than my skinny pals, and I was really self conscious of my chin (I will never have a nice jawline, no matter what weight am I) and my hips. But looking at the same photos, 12 years later? I was a (skinny!) kid, laughing with my friends, and looking like I was having the very best time.
Accept that sometimes you will not like how you look in photos. Does it really matter? Isn't it better to have an unflattering photo of you having an ace time with people you love, rather than being the dreaded person who insists on checking a photo the second it's taken? 8. Take no shit, but do no harm
There's only one constant in your life, and that is you. Stand up for yourself and put yourself first, but never ever at the expense of others. 9. Learn to cook
Day to day I am a fairly lazy cook, but I can throw a mean dinner party, and I am not afraid to brag about how amazing my pies are. Find someone who can cook and copy them! Ask questions. Try cooking classes. Discover the total satisfaction of cooking for the people in your life. 10. Try food you don't like
I didn't eat fish for YEARS. I got weirdly wound up by being so fussy though - I wished I liked sushi (it looked so cute!), but I just hated the smell and taste of fish. That's until I started work at the Science Festival, learned that you can basically train yourself to like anything, and started on a journey of fishy discovery! It took a few months, but to my total amazement I tolerated, then liked, then loved fish, and I haven't looked back. Try new things and surprise yourself!
11. Go on adventures
The world is a huge wonderful place and there is so much to see! You'll never regret spending money or time on adventures (big or small). 12. Stop going to shit pubs
The best thing about being 30 and not 20 is that I can afford to go to nice pubs with nice pub food and drinks that don't taste like watered-down sadness. I cannot believe people my age still go to bars we went to as students. Find a nice local! Stop ordering the cheapest wine! You deserve it. 13. Only buy something if you love it
My friend Brigid gave me this advice, and it has served me well for years. Only buy something if you really, honestly love it. If you like it, but you're not quite sure, or the sleeves are a bit funny, or you reckon you'll find 'somewhere' to wear/put it. Don't. It'll just sit in your drawer, unloved. Save yourself time and money by being ruthless when trying things on and you'll purge your life of mediocre things!
14. Practise makeup
Make up, like almost everything, is something you can get better at by simply practising. There are so many amazing blogs and vlogs and tutorials out there, there's no reason you should be rubbish at it. Even if you barely wear makeup, there is probably going to be the odd occasion where you want to wear eyeliner or false eyelashes. You don't need to beg your pal to do it for you, just practise a couple of times! 15. Bleach your hair when you can
I am mad that teenage Juliet didn't bleach her entire head of hair because I was scared of what my parents would think. Now I am 30, and I look at people with amazing rainbow hair, but I can't do it because I have a job where quite often I have to present to important/older/official people, and they would judge me and the company I represent as a result. I wish I had dyed my whole hair bright pink or bleach blonde or neon yellow when I could, because I don't know when I'll get the chance now. Sad face! 16. Be picky about your hairdresser
I spent too many years going to rubbish hairdressers where I just felt like I was someone on a production line in a busy salon. Now going to the hairdresser is an absolute JOY - I totally trust her with my hair, always love how it turns out, and I feel like she genuinely cares about me and my hair! You deserve a lovely hairdresser too. Try new places until you find someone you click with. 17. Buy yourself flowers
I think it's quite ridiculous that flowers get treated as a special occasion gift. Flowers are lovely and make your house very pretty. Get into the habit of buying yourself flowers (it's only £1 for a bunch of daffodils in the supermarket at the moment!) and make your world a little more beautiful. 18. Learn how to make coffee
Once you've had a nice coffee, you realise how horrendous mediocre coffee is. Get yourself a nice coffee maker (if you can't afford a machine get an aeropress or a stove top perculator) and discover the JOY of nice coffee. Plus it is super satisfying to buy coffee beans and grind them yourself! 19. It is perfectly okay to watch Disney as an adult
I remember being about 12 and having the horrible realisation that I was probably officially getting too old to watch cartoons, and very sadly having one final watch of all of my favourite films. I didn't realise that when I went to uni all of my flatmates would be equally as nostalgic as I was, and most Sunday mornings, aged 18 - 21, were spent on the sofa watching old Disney films and still knowing all the words. Now I'm 30 and I still go to see Disney at the cinema, and regularly watch cartoons. It's okay! 20. Don't beat yourself up if you can't afford to buy a house
British people have it ingrained in their brains that you MUST buy a property to be a proper grown up. It's nonsense. Yes, when you buy a flat you have total control of how it looks, but you often have to compromise on so much to find something you can afford (and then you are responsible for everything that needs fixed/repaired/done to it). Europeans rent forever, so don't kick yourself if you don't have a deposit to buy. Just focus on finding a nice landlord who will trust you, and won't freak out if you want to put shelves up (private landlords are generally much better than agencies!).
21. Learn a good party trick
Everyone needs a party trick. When I was younger I had stretched ears, and I could fit a pen through my earlobes (sorry mum). Now I can hula hoop with FIRE (not for long, but that's not the point). 22. Enjoy everyday moments
Life is so much more than a countdown to the next big exciting thing. Life is also pottering round your flat, chatting to pals at work, drinking coffee on a grey day, and marathoning the Vampire Diaries on netflix with zero shame. Aim to enjoy the quiet moments and the boring moments too.
23. Read lots of books
Books will bring you joy, and help heal your heartache, and take you on adventures, and teach you about the world. They will make you laugh and cry and think and find solace when you need it. They are the very best thing, and you should aim to have one in your bag at all times.
24. Get a dishwasher
I don't care that this makes me sound like a total grandma - if you are in a position to get a dishwasher, GET A DISHWASHER. I have only recently discovered the absolute joy of dishwasher ownership, and it feels like my life has improved a million times over. Life is too short to do dishes in the sink (or whinge about the dishes you should be doing).
25. Think 'will this matter a year from now?'
Life will occasionally be awful. Someone will hurt you, or you'll make a mistake, or do something stupid, or something bad will happen. It's pretty much just how life goes. But pain is helped by sleep and time, and in the midst of it all going wrong, it can be helpful to ask yourself if it'll really matter a year from now. 26. Pay your bills on time
This one's pretty obvious. Pay your bills, don't ever skip anything for a stupid reason, and don't be scared to ask for help if you need it. 27. Do not panic at interviews
When you go into an interview, remember that the interviewers are on YOUR SIDE. They picked you because they liked the cut of your jib, they want you to do well, and they definitely won't judge you if you are nervous (it's actually nice to see the person genuinely wants the job!). Also, if you're ever in a group interview with a task, always volunteer to be the person who writes notes! 28. There is no such thing as too many notebooks
There just isn't. 29. Put your mobile down!
If you are with people, put your phone down. If you're having dinner, put your phone down. If you're struggling to sleep and it's the middle of the night, put your phone down. 30. Remember you are still young
If I had written a post like this when I was 20, I bet I would read it back and cringe and cringe. It feels like an absolute lifetime ago, but it was only 10 years? I'm not sure where I'll be in the next 10 years, but I'm looking forward to the things I'll learn (and the embarrassment of rediscovering this blog one day). Bring it on!
Ever since I got hooked on Serial last year (like everyone else in the world), podcasts have become a big part of my life! I listened to them LOADS when I was learning to run, I find them really soothing to listen to when I'm in bed if I can't quite be bothered to read a book, they make tidying the house so much more interesting, and they make boring plane and train journeys go by in a flash.
Here's a few of my current favourites...
If you didn't listen to Serial last year, what were you doing with your life? Last year Serial investigated the murder of Hae Min Lee, an American student who was killed in 1999. Her ex-boyfriend was charged with the crime and put away for life, but did he actually do it? They go through all of the evidence (which does not add up in many places), and it is fascinating. If you were hooking on Making a Murderer, you will be obsessed with this!
2. The Message
The Message is a science-fiction podcast and it is SO creepy. Each week you get an update from Nicky, a student who is working with a team of cryptologists as they attempt to decipher, decode and understand an alien message that was received over 70 years ago. Did I mention it is CREEPY? I loved it.
I really hate maths, so it's possibly a bit surprising that Freakonomics, an economics-based podcast, is one of my favourites, but it's so good!Each week the show uses the tools of economics to explore real-world behaviour, telling stories about cheating schoolteachers, self-dealing real-estate agents, the secrets of online dating, and crack-selling mama's boys.
5. The Mortified Podcast
The Mortified Podcastis a storytelling series where adults share the embarrassing things they created as kids - diaries, letters and lyrics - on stage in front of total strangers. It is hilarious, and strangely comforting to realise that we were all embarrassing nightmares as teenagers. I almost cried with laughter listening to this episode - a boy who, inspired by the Wu Tang Clan, wrote in his journals as if he were a hip hop star.
Another science-fiction podcast, Limetown is what would happen if Serial met the X-Files. This seven-part podcast looks at an American mystery, when over three hundred men, women and children disappeared from a small town in Tennessee, never to be heard from again. I couldn't stop listening to this, even though it absolutely terrified me at times!
Criminal is a podcast (unsurprisingly) about crime. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. Each episode is only about 20 minutes long, which makes it easy to dip in and out of, and gives you a fascinating glimpse into people's worlds.
8. Game of Owns
Do you want to listen to a group of pals talk for hours on end about Game of Thrones? This podcast is for you! Each week they dissect the show, try to make sense of what is actually going on, and guess what's going to come next.
I've included a couple of creepy podcasts on this list, but Lore beats them all. This podcast looks at true-life scary stories (waaah), picking a uniquely scary tale each week and covering the truth behind it. I have tried to listen to this at night but I actually can't - I always have to turn it off and watch some nonsense on youtube to shake the fear off. It's so good/terrifying!
10. You Must Remember This...
Last but not least, You Must Remember This is a storytelling podcast about the secret and forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century. I first started listening to tale of Charles Manson's Hollywood and I've been hooked ever since.
I hope that's given you some listening inspiration! If you are also a podcast fan, let me know what you're listening to at the moment too.