Edinburgh – Portsmouth – Disneyland

I can’t believe that we’re more than halfway through the year already! I know that everyone says that but it’s now less than three months until my birthday! Like last year, I thought I’d do a mid year round up to share my highlights of the year so far and to tell you how I’m getting on with a few goals that I set for myself.

This year definitely got off to a better start than last year. In January, I received the compensation I was due from the car accident and used it to pay off my credit card and buy myself a new DSLR (I went for a Canon EOS 700D) after being without one for almost three years! I’m still  getting used to using a DSLR again but I think I’ve been taking some pretty good photos with it!

I’ve been lucky enough to have quite a few trips away. I went to London Fashion Week in February for four days, which was brilliant! I’m hoping to go again in September as well. I took another trip up north to see the lovely Amy, we had a day around Edinburgh and then I stayed at hers for a couple of days. I also went all the way down south to Portsmouth to see three of my favourite girls who I used to work with in the Winchester Primark. I went to Nottingham for a night in May for a friend’s hen do which was great fun. Then, at the end of June I popped over to Paris for a weekend which included a trip to Disneyland and was fantastic!

Gigs wise, I saw Ella Eyre at the Wireless Launch Party, Miley Cyrus, Foxes at Birmingham pride and then Foxes again at her own gig in Birmingham. Miley was quite an experience but at least I can now say I’ve seen her.. that’s one to tell the grandkids. I’ve also been to Crufts on a press pass and went along to The Gadget Show.

My blog has been going from strength to strength, I’ve worked with some fantastic brands already this year and I’ve also managed to get my blog on the telly! My daily pageviews have more than doubled from last year and I reached 1,500 followers on Bloglovin’ this week! I’ve been to a lot of fantastic events and press days too.

In January, I set myself a list of 25 before 25 goals to achieve. I now have less than three months to go and I’ve only achieved 8 of them, however I’m making progress with a few! I’ve started driving lessons again so hopefully I can pass my test before my birthday. I also have a couple of trips planned for later on in the year, so hopefully I can cross off the ‘visit a new country’ goal! I’m also well on my way to reading 25 books – I’m on my 20th at the moment!

The second half of the year will hopefully be just as good as the first, I have a few events coming up that I’m really looking forward to. I’ve already been to Wireless Festival and I’ve just come back from a holiday on the Isle of Wight!

A selfie I took with a monkey on my solo holiday last year

A few years ago, I never would have dreamed of doing anything on my own. Since I was 16 I’ve always had a boyfriend, which meant that there was always someone that I could manipulate into doing things with me to keep me company and do things with. I’ve been single for just over a year and a half now and in that time I’ve done so many things by myself that I never would have done before and do you know what? I’ve loved it. There’s nothing like your own company, getting a bit of peace and quiet, doing what you want to do and being the boss. I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been enjoying doing on my own.

Going to gigs
I’ve been going to gigs on my own for years. The first time was when I saw Bat For Lashes in 2009, I didn’t know anyone else who was a fan of her and instead of missing out I decided to go along anyway. Most of the time, when you’re at a gig you end up losing who you’re with and you’re there to enjoy the music not have a catch up. I’ve lost count of how many gigs I’ve actually been to on my own but off the top of my head I’ve seen: Bat For Lashes, Manic Street Preachers, Marina & The Diamonds, Band of Horses, Muse and Garbage.

There’s nothing like shopping on your own! I’m one of those people that can’t make a decision to save my life. I like to spend ages wandering around a shop holding an item and trying to decide whether I should buy it or not. When you’re on your own you have nobody to moan at you and make you hurry up and you have all the time in the world.

Coffee/Eating Out
One of my favourite things to do is sit in a coffee shop with a good book, enjoying a delicious coffee. I’ve been known to sit in Costa for hours engrossed in a book long after my cup is empty. I also enjoy people watching as I’m quite a nosy person. When I was at uni, I used to walk into town and sit in Starbucks with a drink just for something to do. I know a lot of people don’t like the idea of eating out at a restaurant on their own but I’ve done it plenty of times when I’ve been by myself. I love food and not having anyone with me isn’t going to put me off stuffing my face!

Going to the cinema
I don’t go to the cinema that often but three out of the last four times I’ve been, I’ve been alone. Again, I don’t see the point of missing out on a film just because nobody else wants to see it. A few weeks ago,
I saw The Book Thief and it was brilliant. One of the pros of going on your own is you don’t have anybody asking you what’s going on.

I’ve been up to Edinburgh on my own twice now. Each time I’ve met Amy once I’ve arrived but I’ve made the ten hour coach journey by myself and I’ve spent a good few hours wandering around the city on my own. I’ve been on holiday on my own as well, last year I went away to the Isle of Wight which you can read about here. I’ve also travelled down to London by myself a lot. On Wednesday I went down and attended six press days on my own which is something I never would have dreamed I’d be doing!

I love being independent and being my own boss. You can read other stories over on Giff Gaff’s website.

This post has been written in collaboration with Giff Gaff, I have not been compensated for it.

When I got back from Paris a couple of weeks ago, one of the very first things I did was get my photos off my camera and onto the iMac. I got some beautiful shots of the usual sights, however I was not happy at all with my appearance. Since last summer I’ve managed to put on two stone and the weight has gone straight to my belly and my legs. Obviously as it was scorching in France while I was there, I had my legs out and I’ve had to crop any photos that I’ve uploaded online to just below the waist.
So, since I’ve been back in England, I’ve been making a conscious effort to try and lose some weight and also tone up. The first thing I’ve been doing is counting calories and cutting out the crap. It’s been killing me but I have been avoiding McDonalds (and strangely I haven’t been craving it!) and Greggs and I’ve also not been snacking as often as I usually would. I used to eat a whole packet of biscuits for breakfast which is quite disgusting. To count my calories, I’ve been using an app called MyFitnessPal (if you want to add me as a friend, my username is xhjw) which has been a great help. I’ve had this app for a couple of years but I’ve only recently started to use it properly.
To help me to tone up, I’ve been doing a fair bit of exercise. I’ve been quite lazy since I got home from uni and I’ve not been doing much walking as town is a bus ride away. I’ve bought myself an exercise bike and if I’m honest, I haven’t been using it as much as I should have been. I’ve also been taking the stairs whenever I can and walking more. When I went to London on Wednesday, I avoided taking the tube for most of the day and I got a lot of exercise from walking around the city with some really heavy bags. While that may have been good for my legs, my feet are not thanking me right now! Other exercises that I have been doing apart from walking and cycling are squats to tone my legs and bum and sit ups to tone my stomach. I’ve been thinking about trying out a different type of cardio, maybe zumba which is really popular and I could get the clothing for that from Move Dancewear. I’ve also been thinking about trying out something like pilates or yoga, I just need to find somewhere that does classes nearer me.
Since I started this new diet/exercise regime, I’ved managed to lose 3lbs which is a great start. Ideally, I want to lose a stone and get a bit more toned. I’m surprsied that I haven’t been craving junk food, I thought it would be really hard but it’s not!

What sort of exercise do you do? Do you have a good fitness regime?