To my fellow bloggers – a message of appreciation

To my fellow bloggers – a message of appreciation

Other bloggers have been incredibly supportive of me. This one’s for them.

I have sent out several tweets recently about how grateful I am for the support you have all given me, but Twitter doesn’t allow me enough characters to express it fully. That’s why we’re here.

For a long time, I haven’t had many friends. It’s not a sob story, it’s a fact. I’ve had wonderful friends, and it’s far better to have a few great ones than hundreds of average ones. Other people just don’t seem to like me. Again, not a sob story, it’s just how it goes. I don’t tend to fit in with most people because I usually like different things. I find joy in different places. I’m coming to accept that it’s fine.

However, when I was thinking about blogging, these factors naturally meant that I was nervous. I managed to convince myself to do it anyway. I reasoned with myself that I was doing it to write; that it didn’t matter if I didn’t make friends along the way. I don’t know if I was trying to trick myself into believing that, or if it was genuinely true. The line is a little blurry.

Yet, every article I read about blogging emphasised how important social media was. I knew they were right. I knew the chances of anyone ever seeing what I had to say were slim to none without it. Given that I wanted to share my story to help at least someone, I figured I should try.

So, I said to myself, “just be you and see what happens.” I began following people. I started replying to tweets, with uncensored responses rather than overthinking it. I wrote what came to my mind, and sent it. Put simply, I got involved.

To my surprise, people… seemed to like me? Things started to shift. I kept putting myself out there. I didn’t analyse every word.

My Twitter followers started to grow, and some of my tweets got over 20 Likes, sometimes getting as high as 70-100. This was an entirely new experience for me, and I have happy-cried nearly everytime it’s happened.

In turn, the views on my blog started to creep up. Now, not only people want to chat on Twitter, but they wanted to read what I had to write. People started to comment on my posts, and they were so kind. More tears ensued.

When you see my tweets expressing my gratitude to you for my support, it’s not because I feel like I have to say that to butter you up. I’m not stroking your ego. It’s genuinely because I get so overwhelmed with thanks for all of you, that I have to share it. It builds in my chest until it bursts from my fingertips. It’s for that same reason this post is being written.

Two days ago, I reached 700 followers on Twitter. The next day, I reached 800. Every time I looked at my phone, the screen was filled with notifications. People wanted to talk to me; to be part of what I’m doing. The impact this has had on my overall well-being is honestly not something I can put into words.

People say numbers don’t matter, and they’re right. If you have 10,000 followers who don’t give a damn about you, then those numbers are meaningless. But I feel like I have hundreds of new friends, from all over the world. Not hundreds of average ones like I mentioned before, but hundreds of great ones. People who are sweet, and kind, and intelligent, and fascinating. People with stories to tell and struggles they’re overcoming.

I wanted to communicate the immense joy you have brought me by supporting me. You have given me a confidence I’ve never experienced. You’ve enabled me to be more myself than I think I’ve ever been, because you’ve accepted me. You’ve supported me, you’ve encouraged me and you’ve believed in me. It feels like I’ve found a place where I make sense. For lack of better words, it feels like I’ve found somewhere I belong.

I’m sure you’re all going to make me happy-cry many more times but, right now, I want to say a huge, big, whopping thank you. While I’ve tried to express how truly thankful I am, I know I’ll never be able to. I do, however, hope this gives you some idea.

To my fellow bloggers

Letter to my fellow bloggers to say thank you
A thank you to my fellow bloggers

11 annoying things customers do which make retail life suck

11 annoying things customers do which make retail life suck

I worked in retail for 8 years and during that time, I came to realise that there are some very annoying things customers do. While I appreciate they’re paying my wages, I don’t think that’s an acceptable reason to behave in the ways that some of them do. I don’t know what it is about entering a shop that makes them forget about common decency, but that’s the way it goes.

Here are my 11 annoying that customers do. These are things that really get under my skin and make me want to scream.

1. Forget their manners

Listen up, retail workers are human beings. We do have feelings. If you wouldn’t bark orders at somebody in other circumstances, then don’t do it to us. If that happens to be just your general attitude towards other people, then do us all a favour and stay at home.

Yes, it’s our job to help you, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to talk to us like dirt. Here’s a little insider secret: if you are nice to us, we are nice to you. Ground-breaking stuff, right?

Manners cost nothing. It makes a huge difference to our day-to-day lives when you remember to say please and thank you.

2. Speak to you when you are with another customer

This is, in some way, is related to manners. I’m giving it its own space, though, because it’s so infuriating.

We can only help one person at a time. If we’re with somebody already, now is not your time. Whether that’s somewhere in the shop, or at the till, you need to wait your turn. Barging in and interrupting is unacceptable. We’re not going to abandon another customer in your favour, and you shouldn’t expect us to.

3. Whinge about store policies

Let’s get one thing straight: I am not the business owner and, therefore, I didn’t make the rules that you are so enraged by. This is what I have been taught to follow and I do not have the power to bend the rules for you. Before you start having a go at me, can you just take a second to think about that fact?

Saying that, it doesn’t make it much better when you say, “I know it’s not your fault but…” and continue to berate us anyway.

Sure, I’d love to give you your money back, so we didn’t have to have this disagreement, but I can’t. You need to understand that it would make my life much easier if I could give you what you wanted. Sadly, it is beyond my control.

4. Insist on talking to the manager

Think about this. You are asking to speak to the very person who trained me on these policies. Why are they going to tell you anything different?

Admittedly, managers do have a bit more flexibility and, in some circumstances, can find a solution for you. You should probably keep in mind that this is more likely to happen if you’re not behaving like a spoilt brat, though. Try asking calmly and reasonably to speak to the manager, and we might just get somewhere.

5. Treat you like you’re stupid

This is probably the one I found hardest to deal with. I consider myself to be quite an intelligent person, and I absolutely despise it when people talk to me like I’m a five-year-old. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that, because somebody works in a shop, they don’t have a brain between their ears. There is absolutely no need to be patronising.

Many retail workers are students who are working towards a degree, so they must have some level of intelligence, right? You may be older than us or have a better job than us, but it doesn’t mean you know everything or give you the right to be rude to us.

6. Threaten you with social media

For all that I think social media has done some good in the world, nothing enrages me more than “I’m going to put on Facebook what a horrible company this is.” Well, thanks for the warning and everything, but how about you grow up and accept that, sometimes in life, you don’t get your own way? I’m sure you’ll miss out the part where you didn’t read your receipt properly or, better yet, didn’t bother bringing your receipt with you at all.

If you think a decision is unfair, by all means, go through the correct complaints procedure. Write a letter, send an email or even use private messaging on social media platforms, rather than being petty enough to post it publicly. You need to give companies an opportunity to rectify the situation before launching straight into an attack.

7. Dump things in a random place

I have some leniency on this one. If the shop is large or is particularly busy and you can’t navigate it to put the item back, it’s not so bad. I’m not saying I agree with it but I can understand. However, I am less forgiving when it’s out of pure laziness. I have only worked in smaller shops, which is perhaps why it bugs me so much.

The thing is if you handed the item to me and said something along the lines of “I’m sorry, I forgot where I picked this up from, do you mind putting it back?”, that’s fine! Otherwise, all you’re doing is making our job ten times harder because you didn’t want to take a few steps and put it back. Is that how you would behave anywhere else? If so, I dread to think what your house looks like.

8. Say things like “it’s a lovely day outside, you should be out there enjoying it.”

OH. Really? Do you NOT think I’d love that? Unfortunately, I have bills to pay, and I have been put on the rota to be in on this lovely sunny day, so guess where I should be? Right here. It sucks, and I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t remind me of that.

ALSO: if you are going to say things like “It’s a shame you have to work Boxing Day, Christmas is a time for family” WHEN YOU ARE OUT SHOPPING ON BOXING DAY, don’t. You are the reason we have to work these holidays because there’s a demand for it. How about you go and spend time with your family like we wish we could? If more people did that, there’d be no need for shops to be open and we’d get the day off, too.

9. Expect you to be happy constantly

To reiterate the point in number 1, we are human beings. We have a life beyond work. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I do my very best to leave my problems at the door, but some problems are too big. Don’t get me wrong, I am probably in overdrive to try and keep a smile on my face for your benefit. If you happen to catch me in an off moment, please don’t make a snide remark about it.

You don’t know what we are going through, either in or out of work. We are not going to be happy every single minute of every single day. If anything, just know that we are trying our best to deliver good service to you, even when we’d rather be anywhere else.

10. Announce that they’ve worked in retail/owned a business and “know how this works”

Good for you. If that’s the case, then you know how horrible it is when someone is unpleasant to you, so why do it?

If I can say one thing about working in retail, it’s that it has made me very conscious of how I behave in shops. You’re telling me you’ve had the same experience and still choose to behave like this? Wow.

11. Come in at closing time

I know, I know, this is on every single list like this, but I couldn’t leave it out. We just want to go home!

Take a look around. Is everywhere else shutting up shop? Yes? That’s a pretty good indicator that we are about to, too. Come back another day.

11 annoying things customers do

That’s my selection of annoying things customers do. If you want to be a good customer, please avoid doing these things, I beg of you.

The most important thing to remember when you are a customer is that retail workers are not robots with no feelings. What you do and say affects us. No matter how much we wish we were immune to it, it’s hard to not get annoyed when people behave in certain ways.

Although it’s not the worst job in the world, retail is not a particularly rewarding job, either. You have to work hard for very little pay. You can do your part to make it that little bit better by doing one simple thing: be kind. Think about how you would want to be treated if you were us, and act accordingly. It’s that simple.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments! Alternatively, you can comment with your pet peeves about your own work!

11 annoying things customers do which make retail workers miserable
11 annoying things customers do - are you guilty of any of these shopper sins?

5 reasons cats are amazing and why everyone should have one

5 reasons cats are amazing and why everyone should have one

There are many reasons cats are amazing (especially mine… more on that shortly!)

I’m going to share five of the reasons why I believe this, and then tell you a little bit about my very own bundle of perfection. If you only came for the pictures, there’s a gallery at the end.

5 reasons cats are amazing

1. The bum wiggle

Have you ever witnessed the little bum wiggle cats do, just before they’re about to pounce on something? Doesn’t it make you smile instantly? I love the fact that cats do this. It always makes me giggle. It’s even better when they pounce, have no idea what they’re doing, and start darting around the place. AD-OR-AB-LE.

2. Purring

I find purring such a relaxing sound. It’s actually something that helps me when my anxiety is particularly bad and I need a way to calm down. Whenever I’m getting worked up about something, I spend some time with my cat and it always soothes me. The bonus of purring is it’s usually a telltail (couldn’t resist) sign that your cat is content which is always nice to know.

3. Independence

Cats are pretty chilled out. You can disappear for the day, and they’re not bothered that you’ve been gone. Most of them don’t suffer from anxiety in the same way that dogs can. They don’t need to be near you at all times, so you can get on with things, and they’ll happily sleep nearby. As well as their nonchalance about being around you, they don’t require a lot of grooming (unless, of course, they’re a big ball of fluff then brushing is essential.) Cats are happy to clean themselves, so you don’t need to worry about it quite so much.

4. Entertainment

All of my evidence for this can be found on YouTube. Just go and search “cat videos”. You’ll have a blast.

5. Toe beans


Those are my 5 reasons cats are amazing. Do you agree, or have I missed something? Let me know in the comments!

5 reasons cats are amazing

Now, a little bit about my kitty!

As of the 23rd of March 2018, I have had my cat, Juno, for 10 years. As you can see from the pictures, she is beautiful and, like all proud pet owners, I’m so glad she’s my cat and nobody else’s.

If you’re wondering where the name came from, it’s due to the fact I was obsessed with the film at the time. Naming my cat after a fictional pregnant teenager was probably an odd way to go, but I think it fits her perfectly.

Back in 2008, one of my friends told me that she had kittens to give away to good homes, and she offered me one. We already had a cat and a dog at the time, so I didn’t like my chances when I asked my mum. Initially, she said no, and then I showed her some pictures. Just like me, she couldn’t resist. As a result, we made an agreement that I could get a kitten, but I had to look after her. Quite honestly, I’ve tried my best, but I think Juno has spent more time looking after me.

The day she arrived, she had a feeble, squeaky meow and a fear of her own shadow. She was tiny and light as a feather. I loved her instantly. Since that day, we have been inseparable and we’ve been through a lot together. I’ve been through hard times and sobbed in my bed with her by my side. She’s scared the life out of me when she fell out of a window (thankfully, she got away with only a scratch on her nose to show for it). We’ve moved three times. It’s been an adventure.

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.”

Now, I know everybody says this about their pet, but she is absolutely the greatest cat in the world. Everyone who meets her falls in love with her. She is the friendliest little kitty, too. Whoever comes to visit our flat, she’s straight at their feet, being a purr monster and looking adorable.

The bond we have is unlike anything I’ve ever known and surpassed all expectations that I had. She’s near enough always by my side. When I’m feeling down, I’ll look at her and instantly feel better. If I’m crying, she’ll appear out of nowhere and stay with me until I’ve calmed down. When I’m ill, she’ll lay beside me or on top of me. I do believe that pets have instincts for when things aren’t right with us. Juno has proved that to me, time and time again.

While I clearly have a preference for cats, I believe that having any type of pet is so important. They become part of who we are. If you’re considering getting one, I strongly recommend that you do it. You will wonder how you ever lived without it. Pets bring a great deal of joy into our lives and, when you think about it, it’s incredible the impact they can have, without ever needing to say a word.

For now, I will leave you with a small selection of photos as promised. If you want to see more pictures of her, you’re welcome to follow me on Instagram where she makes regular appearances.

5 reasons you should get a cat
Yes you should get a cat and here are 5 reasons why

“Should I go to university?” – Help and advice

“Should I go to university?” – Help and advice

This is a question a lot of young people will ask themselves. It is a personal decision so, sadly, I can’t offer a straight yes or no answer. However, I have the benefit of hindsight on my side, so here are some of my thoughts on attending university that I hope will be useful.

Let’s begin with probably the most important piece of information: I didn’t go to university.

During my second year of college, all anybody was talking about was UCAS and university applications. As I was a high-achiever, there was a lot of anticipation for what I would go on to do next. While I was academically successful during college, it had been a draining and lonely experience personally. I didn’t have many friends. The few friends that I did have had different schedules, so I spent a lot of time by myself. To achieve good grades, I worked as hard as I could and usually felt exhausted.

Although I love learning, I was unsure whether I wanted to continue with education. Moreover, I had no idea what I wanted to do as a career. I wasn’t willing to get myself into debt for something I wasn’t passionate about, or convinced I could be successful in.

One afternoon, I attempted to discuss my future with my English tutor. To my horror, she told me that not going to university would be the worst thing I could do. She went on to tell me that I was far too talented and smart to not continue my education. I imagine she was coming from a good place, but all she did was make me feel like I was destined to fail if I didn’t continue with my studies. It wasn’t what I needed to hear at the time. I felt under extreme pressure and completely overwhelmed. What if she was right? What if I would never amount to anything because I hadn’t gone to university?

The next morning, I was early to my Sociology lesson and my tutor invited me in for a chat. I opened up to him about how I felt and, for the first time, somebody told me it was okay not to go to university. Immediately, a sense of relief washed over me. He explained that there were options beyond that, and things I could do further down the line when I was ready. I definitely wasn’t ready for it straight after college. I knew that, but I needed to know that it was okay to feel that way.

Here’s where I stand on university:

I don’t think it’s as important as it used to be. Unfortunately, there’s not a guaranteed job at the end of it. The sad reality is that you can work your backside off to get your degree and still end up working in a job that has nothing to do with it.

That said, I’m not here to put anybody off the idea of it, either. This isn’t a one-woman campaign to persuade you to avoid university at all costs. I want to give you a balanced perspective so you have information to help towards your decision. There are occasions when I find myself wishing I had gone to university. Since leaving college, I’ve been able to recognise the things I enjoy and would like to pursue. However, that’s only through the experiences I’ve had since then. When I was 18, I had no idea.

Things to consider:

If you have a career in mind that you are passionate about, I would encourage you to go for it. University is helpful in many ways. You learn new skills, you meet new people and you explore the world a little bit more. Several of my friends who went to university have had wonderful experiences and made lifelong friends. They’ve been fortunate enough to go on to do what they’ve always wanted. For them, it was very rewarding and I’m sure they wouldn’t trade that time for anything in the world.

On the other hand, university isn’t for everyone, and it may not be for you. It’s hard to admit that, especially when all of your friends are going for it. You may be concerned about your family being disappointed. Read this next sentence very carefully and take a minute to process it: it doesn’t make sense to do it if it’s not what you want. The financial aspect aside, you also need to consider your mental well-being. If you go to university right away, how will you feel? From what I can gather, it’s hard enough to work towards a degree when you’re actively chasing a dream, so imagine how challenging it would be if you don’t want to be there.

I would also recommend thinking about what success means to you. Will it come from a particular career, or would you find it through something else? By other people’s standards, my English teacher was perhaps right and I haven’t gotten anywhere in life. For several years, I was embarrassed by the fact that I hadn’t gone to university. Yet, all I ever wanted in life was to be content with what I had.

As far as I’m concerned, I have everything I need: a supportive family, a loving partner, a cute cat and a place to call home. I realise that’s not exactly ambitious, but it’s what it’s important to me. I didn’t spend hours planning for career success. When I was working hard for my good grades, it was to make my family proud. My time was spent daydreaming about making memories surrounded by people I love. As long as I can do that, everything else falls into second place.

Here’s what you need to know:

Personally, I believe that colleges spend too much time ramming the benefits of university down pupils throats, rather than giving them a broader perspective. Or, perhaps it was just my college that did that. It’s also been a long time since I was in college, so I would like to believe that things have changed since then.

Just to be safe, here are both sides:

University can be a highly beneficial thing to do, both for yourself and your career. Even if you change your mind about the work you want to do, many organisations look admirably on those who have acquired degrees. It can also boost your confidence and enable you to create irreplaceable memories with great people. Not to mention the fact that having a degree is a brilliant thing to achieve and is undoubtedly something to be proud. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. If you decide this is the path you wish to take, then I wish you all the best. I’m sure you’ll do great!

Equally, you don’t have to go to university right now, or at all. It doesn’t mean that you will get nowhere in life. People find success in all different places. I know plenty of people have gone on to do well without a degree under their belt. There’s also The Open University which allows flexible learning, and a vast number of part-time courses are available at colleges and universities. If you need a little reassurance, here’s a bunch of famous faces who didn’t need a degree to make something of their lives, and you don’t either. If you’re not ready to go for it just now, don’t let the world trick you into thinking it’s game over.

What to do now:

I’m a fan of lists, so I would suggest compiling a list of pros and cons. You may find it useful to look at this article when you’re writing your list. It covers a lot of the important issues that you need to think carefully about when making your decision. Try to think of yourself rather than anybody else. We all have a tendency to get caught up in wondering what other people will think and say, but that shouldn’t be a deciding factor in your choice.

Most importantly, if this is something you are really struggling with, talk to someone. Talking to my sociology teacher enabled me to not only make a decision but also be comfortable with the choice I made. If you don’t feel ready to talk to someone you know, I’m always happy to discuss the issues raised in my posts, so you can find ways to contact me here. Feel free to drop me an email, even if you just want to offload all of your thoughts to someone. While I can’t guarantee I’ll have all the answers, I do promise to listen and try my best to help however I can.

Should I go to university

Whether you’re looking to go to university, have already been or have never tried it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject so please leave a comment!

Is university right for you
Is university essential if you want to be successful - A discussion

Top 3 Dr Martens boots I couldn’t live without

Top 3 Dr Martens boots I couldn’t live without

Oh, Dr Martens, how I love thee. In fact, I love them so much, I wish I had more feet so I could wear more of them at once. Say what you like about spiders, but if those little tinkers could wear shoes, they’d have it pretty good.

In total, I own ten pairs of Dr Martens. Eight of those are boots, and two are shoes. I got it into my head that it would be a good idea to share three of my favourite pairs of boots with you. Although I have a tendency to write about deeper issues, I fancied doing something else that I could have a little fun with. However, doing this task felt like a parent being asked to pick their favourite child. Despite my struggle, I’ve managed to pick my top three.

Please be aware that this post contains affiliate links, which are marked with an asterisk. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you purchase the product through my link (yay!). If you would like to know more, please read the full disclosure policy.

1. Dr Martens 1460 Portland Rose White Boots

Dr Martens 1460 Portland Rose White Boots

These were the first pair of Dr Martens that I ever owned. I had seen them when I was shopping but couldn’t afford them. I asked for them for my birthday and my wonderful big sister came through for me (as she often does!) One evening, a lot of snow had fallen so my sister and I decided to go for an adventure. That’s when I discovered that Dr Martens are fantastic for walking on snow and ice. I’ve been relying on them every winter since.

The best thing about that night was that my sister and I ended up making snow angels on a roundabout. Between that memory, and these boots being the start of my collection, they’ve got a very special place in my heart.

2. Dr Martens 1460 Lumpy Space Princess Boots

Dr Martens 1460 Lumpy Space Princess Boots

If you’re reading this and you happen to be an Adventure Time fan, I imagine I don’t really need to explain any further. If you’re not an Adventure Time or are not familiar with it, JUST LOOK AT THEM! They’re still pretty cute, right? When Dr Martens first started releasing the Adventure Time boots, they didn’t include LSP. I was heartbroken and, if I’m honest, a little bit outraged that they had the cheek to miss out my favourite character.

Nevertheless, I didn’t give up hope. I made a promise to myself to keep money aside so that I could get them straight away. I kept my fingers and toes crossed. Dr Martens didn’t disappoint (which is just as well, as I don’t know if our relationship would have recovered). I screamed the house down when they were released and bought them without hesitation.

These are the most comfortable ones that I own. The material is so soft and squishy! Sometimes, Dr Martens boots can be quite stiff and often it takes a little bit of breaking in before they’re comfortable. That wasn’t an issue with these, which only made me love them more. They’re also the ones I get the most compliments on. No matter where I go, there’s usually at least one person who stops me to say that they love my boots.

3. Dr Martens 1460 Pascal Glitter Boots

Dr Martens 1460 Pascal Glitter Boots

For the most part, I’m not really a girly girl. Glitter doesn’t appeal to me. That is, of course, unless you put them all over some Dr Martens boots. It helped that, when I bought them, I had a phone case that was very similar. Some things are just meant to be. As you can imagine, I don’t need much persuasion to purchase another pair of Dr Martens, so I’ll justify my choices with any excuse. I’m not sure how convinced my boyfriend was by my logic, but he humoured me anyway.

I absolutely adore wearing these when it’s sunny. The picture doesn’t do justice to how sparkly they are! The first time I wore them, the sun was beaming down so, every couple of minutes, I’d nudge my boyfriend and say “look at them! Look how much they sparkle!” I was mesmerised. Typing that now, I wonder what passers-by must have thought. At the time, I was too engrossed in my glistening boots to notice anything else.

If you’re interested, they do also come in others colours like black* and pastel rainbow*.

Bonus: Dr Martens 1460 Pascal Flower Boots

Dr Martens 1460 Pascal Flower Boots

Okay, I didn’t manage to stick to three, but there’s a good reason for these ones being snuck in! These are the most recent addition to the collection. While they are AMAZING, it’s more the story that goes with them that means they had to be included somewhere. I had spotted these on Schuh’s website and immediately fallen in love. They were a little pricey so I reasoned with myself that I didn’t need another pair right now. As any shoe addict will know, it’s hard when you fall in love with a pair of shoes and can’t have them. So, I moped a little.

A week later, my boyfriend popped home on his lunch break. This wasn’t unusual, so I didn’t think anything of it. Once he’d gone back to work, he sent me a text to say there was a present in the bedroom for me. I know you’ve guessed the ending already, but it was these beauties! Happy days! It was one of those little moments in life where I felt so giddy, I thought I was going to explode.

I always go a little bit weak at the knees for any floral Dr Martens, but I was completely taken with the 3D flowers on these ones. I think it makes them a little bit more unusual so I’m delighted I’ve got a pair to call my own! If you’ve got to have them, too, they’re available at Schuh*.

3 pairs of Dr Martens I couldn't live without

Top 3 Dr Martens

3 things I learnt about blogging in my first week

3 things I learnt about blogging in my first week

As of today, I have been blogging for a whole week (yay for me!). I know that’s not a long period of time, but I already feel like I’ve learnt a few important lessons. I’m interested to see what I’ll learn in the months to come. For now, these are my top 3 from the past seven days.

1. Blogging is harder than it looks.

It’s a testament to the blogging community that they make it look so easy. Having attempted blogging before, I had some understanding that it’s not as easy as it appears, but that was only the writing side of things. I would struggle for inspiration, feel like nobody cared or just feel embarrassed by my writing, so I wouldn’t stick it out. This time, I’ve gone all in and have been trying to follow all the tips and tricks I’ve seen from others. Boy, there’s a lot to do!

I am enjoying the challenge, but it definitely feels like you’re doing ten different jobs in one. When you actually stop to think about it, that’s because you are. Other bloggers have mentioned how you are responsible for your writing, your marketing, your photography – every single aspect of it falls to you and it’s a lot to take on. Megan from MeganSays breaks it down in her post which you can read here.

If you’ve found this and you’re just starting out: don’t let it put you off. It’s worth the time, energy and effort you put into it. It can be a shock to the system when you are trying to take all of the information on board, but I’ve found the overall experience very rewarding so far.

2. Most bloggers question themselves.

A couple of weeks ago, when I started seriously contemplating blogging, I did a little bit of research. It seemed like everybody else was really confident and comfortable in their own skin. As I mentioned in this post, I’ve always been plagued by the fear that my writing just isn’t good enough, and that nobody wants to read what I have to say. The idea of putting myself out there terrified me. Everyone else was making it look effortless. I felt like I had a mountain to climb.

If I’d delved a little deeper, I would have learnt that I’m not alone in that. Since connecting with other bloggers, I’ve found that they’re dealing with the same worries as I am. Whether they’re questioning their place in the blogging community or worrying about their content, pretty much everyone is going through the same struggles. Even those who seem to have it all figured out are experiencing the same emotions. I’ve found a great deal of comfort in that over the past seven days!

3. The community is amazing.

As an outsider looking in, I always found the blogging community quite intimidating. I thought you had to have certain interests or be a certain way to fit in. It seemed like every blogger I came across was writing about hair and makeup. I was questioning if the things I wanted to write about were suitable and had serious doubts that I would find my place. I needn’t have worried quite so much.

It’s early days and I’m still finding my way, but everyone has been so welcoming. This has had such a positive impact on my mood and my confidence. The community is full of people who are ready and waiting to motivate, support and encourage you. I’d definitely recommend jumping in and interacting with as many other bloggers as you can. Twitter has been the best place for doing this for me. Bloggerkind have been brilliantly supportive and taking part in GRLPOWR‘s chat was highly rewarding. You can find information on different Twitter chats throughout the week here. Twitter chats are a great way to talk to other bloggers and put yourself out there, so I strongly recommend giving them a try when you can.

3 things I learnt about blogging in my first week

What were some things you learnt during your first week of blogging?

Week 1 of blogging - What I've learnt so far
3 important lessons I learnt about blogging in the first 7 days

Approaching 30: Not married? No children? No problem.

Approaching 30: Not married? No children? No problem.

When you’re approaching 30, you start to reflect on your 20s and your life as a whole. You find yourself wondering if it has lived up to your expectations. My guess for most of us who are approaching 30 is that it probably hasn’t but is that such a bad thing? Here’s one of the many ways in which my life didn’t go according to my plan.

At around 18 or 19 years old, I decided one of my goals was to be married by 25.

My logic for this was that to reach a 50th wedding anniversary, myself and my partner would need to live to be around 75. I’ve never decided if I think that reasoning is sweet or silly. In any case, it seemed do-able. I was undecided about children but thought I’d be looking to have them at around 27-30. That was the plan. Spoiler: it didn’t happen and I’m learning to be okay with it.

You can’t plan when you’re going to meet someone and fall in love with them. To put a time limit on that was very naive of me, and I learnt that the hard way. It caused me to make some silly decisions.

At 23, I was in a serious relationship.

We were living together but things were not particularly great. He didn’t have a job, hadn’t done for over a year and was showing no motivation towards getting one. I wasn’t earning a lot of money so I was struggling to pay the bills. He usually had his eyes glued to his computer screen and he very rarely did anything around the house or spent time with me. We were arguing more and more.

I should have taken these as signs to walk away, but we got engaged. I took that as a symbol of his dedication and believed that things would improve. Not to mention the fact that this was right on schedule! My plan was on track! This was what I wanted, after all. If I didn’t seize the opportunity then it probably wouldn’t happen within my deadline. (Don’t feel guilty if you’re laughing at how ridiculous that is – I can laugh about it too now.)

At 25, I was single.

Thankfully, I saw sense before following through with it and called off the wedding. Things didn’t change and I knew I couldn’t stay in that relationship. That’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life. Everyone was looking forward to the big day and to have to announce that it was no longer happening was upsetting and embarrassing. I am surrounded by such wonderfully supportive people that it didn’t take me long to realise that nobody was judging me or disappointed in me.

My plan wasn’t working out too well. When that was over and done with, I started to panic. It felt like everyone else around my age was settling down. Where on earth was I going to find somebody now? All the best people were surely taken or would have children of their own and I didn’t want to be a step-mum. That’s not to say that I don’t agree with the people who are. I have indescribable respect for step-parents but I didn’t feel it was right for me. I’d like to think that, had I met somebody who I really liked who had children, I would have risen to the challenge but I wasn’t convinced.

By 26, I had met somebody new.

Well, actually, for a short while, I made a valiant attempt to make things work with an ex. I truly believed that we were “meant to be” and that this was our time. As with many others things in life, I was wrong. Needless to say, that didn’t have a happy ending, either.

So, I lost some weight, focused on things I enjoyed doing and started to feel better about myself. I joined an online dating site a couple of months before my 26th birthday and met my current boyfriend, Neal. He didn’t have children but he did live 300 miles away. Why is there always a catch? He was great, but I’d tried long distance relationships in the past and found them too hard. Neal was determined, though, and travelled to see me as much as he could. We spent every spare second we had talking to each other. It quickly became serious and we managed to make it work.

At 27, I’m in the happiest, healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in.

Fast forward a year and a half, I’m sat in our flat, writing this post. Neal is wonderful and treats me better than I ever dreamed. I couldn’t possibly imagine being with anybody else and know, beyond any doubt, that this is the person I want to spend my life with. Whenever the time is right for us, I’m confident that we’ll tie the knot and spend many years tormenting each other. It’s a good job I didn’t settle down at 25. I wouldn’t have what I do now. Besides, if we decide it’s right for us, I could still have a child by the time I’m 30 – who knows?

That said, I do find it difficult some days when it seems like everyone else my age or younger is getting married and/or having children. I’m under no illusion that, for most of them, it’s not as perfect as it appears to be. Parenting is a huge challenge and one cute video on social media is probably 5 minutes out of an otherwise hectic day. Yet, I feel like they’re doing better than me. I feel like they’re where they should be and I’m falling behind. Isn’t that ridiculous?

So, here I am, approaching 30…

…and nothing has gone the way I thought it would. I used to scoff when people talked about the pressure to do these things. “Just don’t do it if you don’t want to.” That was my argument, never taking into account how lonely it is when everyone else is doing it and you’re not. Nowadays, I think the pressure for some of us comes less from people telling us to do it and more from feeling like we’re missing out. We’re inundated with posts and pictures and it’s hard to escape the feeling that we need to catch up. We’re not necessarily subjected to people asking us when we’re going to get married or have kids, but we are concerned because we’re not there yet. (The “yet” is very important.)

When I’m being reasonable and fair to myself, I know that there’s nothing wrong with me. My life is simply moving at a different pace to other people’s and that’s absolutely fine! Also, there’s plenty of people my age or older who are in the same situation. It really doesn’t matter. I could have followed my plan and stayed in an unhappy relationship to fulfil it, and I would have been miserable. So, I got out and maybe my life isn’t where I thought it would be, but it’s a whole lot better! Plus, we have the added bonus that we still have those things to look forward to! I’m trying to keep this mentality in play as much as I can, but it does get hard sometimes.

What about you?

If you’re reading this and can relate, I just want you to know it’s normal to feel both ways. It’s also fine to want reassurance that there’s nothing wrong with you for taking a different path. It could be that you don’t even want to get married and have kids – that’s totally cool. There are so many others ways that life can be enriching and exciting. Things can still be great, even when your life doesn’t look like other people’s. This applies to everything in life, not just relationships. It’s fine to feel jealous that other people have gorgeous weddings, crazy adventures and cute kids, but it’s important to understand that just because you don’t have it right now, it doesn’t mean you never will. Scientifically, it is more challenging to have children later in life, but there are more options now than there used to be.

No matter what stage of life you are at – a teenager, approaching 30, over 50 – just keep pushing forward with decisions that are right for you and things will work out just fine.

Approaching 30

Thoughts and feelings about approaching 30
Is your life working out the way you thought it would