19 lessons I learnt before my 20th year of life

28 September 2022

1. Be self-aware of your own needs. 

2. Rest needs to be a vital part of your week to recharge and don't feel guilty for it. 

3. But too much time alone is not good for you, find a balance. 

4. If you weren't ready, you wouldn't have the opportunity. 

5. Being productive and 'busy' all the time isn't cool. 

6. You are not going crazy, it's probably just anxiety. 

7. It's not attention seeking to give yourself credit or say you are proud of yourself. 

8. You have the power to do what's best for you. 

9. Remember to focus on how you actually feel, rather than how you should feel. 

10. Maybe the situation isn't as negative as you always think if you survive every time. 

11. Accept you're not going to feel happy all of the time, it's important to feel every emotion. 

12. Have an open mind, change is possible. 

13. Get off your phone and stop scrolling, you know you feel better for it. 

14. Spend time outside and ground yourself. 

15. Don't fight the anxiety, the uncomfortable parts are where you grow. 

16. Enjoy the little moments in life, those are the ones you remember. 

17. Don't wait for permission to do something; if it feels right, go for it. 

18. Validating yourself is a hard but achievable process. 

19. Ride with the creativity, it gives you a buzz that nothing else will. 

Bethan xx

A list of small things to love about Autumn

26 September 2022

New beginnings. Decluttering your wardrobe and purchasing a new jumper. The crisp air early in the morning. The creamy melted marshmallow at the bottom of a mug after drinking a hot chocolate. Still being able to wear sunglasses when the sun is shining. Staying in and feeling no FOMO; possibly having a Harry Potter marathon. Mastering the art of layering, the more the better. Getting stuck into a good book when it's raining outside. Sunday roasts with the family. Eating an apple crumble for pudding, one with a bigger ratio of crumble to apple (the best kind). Digging out your favourite cardigan. Turning up the volume on Taylor Swift's album 'Red', the soundtrack to the colder months. Playing the 'fire setting' on Netflix and pretending you can feel the warmth through the screen. Picking a pumpkin and struggling to carve it, probably making it look like something it wasn't supposed to be. Going on evening walks and spotting fireworks. Followed by taking photos of them that don't do them any justice. The golden colours in an autumnal sunset and sightings of a low moon. Trekking through the woods with a hot drink in hand and neck wrapped with the biggest scarf possible. 

What's your favourite small thing about Autumn?

Bethan xx

The art of journaling and how it could improve your life

23 September 2022

Journaling sounds like a great idea until you actually sit down to start. What do I write? Do I need fancy gel pens? (short answer: yes) Is this even going to do anything?

This has been me many times when I've wanted to start journaling but failed because I don't make time for it. I went through a period of writing gratitudes throughout the summer and when I fell off the bandwagon, it made me realise how much of a positive effect it had on me. 

I personally am quite a negative person, where one thing goes wrong and my mood can instantly change but taking time out of my morning to write out a few things I was grateful for, helps to set a much better tone for my day. 

For my birthday, my sister bought me a 'wellness journal' and firstly, the cover is beautiful (see photo below) but it is laid out so well and has everything you need on a double page spread. I have used it every day since and I'm starting to see the positive difference writing daily gratitudes had on me again. 

If this has any interest in you, here are some ways you could section your pages to create one yourself. 

  • 'Today's mood'
Have you ever taken a second to ask yourself how you are feeling? I think it's so easy to go through your day and forget to check in with yourself and this is a good opportunity to jot it down and also check back through previous days to track progress or notice any patterns. 

  • 'Focus'
This section is a bit like a to-do list which seems to be second nature to me with hundreds of lists in my notes section on my phone or random bits of paper lying about my desk. However, sometimes I can go crazy and write things down that aren't necessary for that day but I feel like the word 'focus' only allows for the important things so you don't end up overwhelming yourself. Choose carefully the tasks you actually want to achieve in the day and remember to be realistic.

  • 'Gratitude'
You can either go big or go home, be specific or general. I quite like to do some general ones first and then write some that are more niche; maybe it's your outfit, the colour of your nails, the music you have been listening to, food or drink, moon, sunsets. I love it when I'm doing something/ notice something and I know that it will be going on this list later, true 'living in the moment' style.

  • 'Track it'
Quite simply, a section to keep track of your mood, how much water you've drank, exercise, time off your phone etc.

  • 'I will honour my mind/body/spirit by:'
A section that's away from the to-dos/things you have to do and instead, things you want to do because it's going to benefit you in some way. I have previously written; taking time out to practice my yoga, making sure I get outside on a walk, having interaction on days where I'm on my own, seeing friends and listening to my favourite music. In short, things that are going to make you feel good inside. 

  • 'I will let go of...'
As many negative thoughts that creep into your mind, habits you want free from, jot them down. Writing any problem down on paper can be such a cathartic process and can eventually result in a positive, liberating outcome. 

  • 'I will celebrate...'
Small or big, it's important to always give yourself credit (taking my own advice as I type, this section in a journal can be hard!) and celebrate ourselves, something we as humans forget to do. 

  • 'Free thoughts' (self explanatory)

Obviously, this isn't how you have to do it but if you're a bit clueless then these are simple sections to start with. 

How to make it a priority, rather than a habit that lasts a few days

  • Set a daily reminder on your phone
  • Take your journal on a solo walk
  • Journal before bed and write what you've achieved in that day rather than what you plan to do
  • Journal as soon as you wake up instead of going on your phone and scrolling social media
  • Let go of any judgement (journalling IS cool)
  • Get as creative as possible, the more appealing it is to you, the more you're going to do it

Journaling has been proven to be an incredible stress management tool. I know for me, it makes my mind clearer, shifts my mindset to be more positive when shining a light on things I should celebrate and keeps me on track with tasks and makes sure I take time out of my day for me; almost like conducting your own therapy session.

“A journal is your completely unaltered voice.” – Lucy Dacus

Bethan xx

A simple guide to a more sustainable wardrobe

18 September 2022

Years ago, when people said the word 'sustainable', I instantly thought 'expensive'. This used to put me off. I would much rather spend £5.99 on a t-shirt in H&M than £90 on the same thing from Whistles. 

But there is so much more to being sustainable than feeling like you should be buying expensive clothes that are going to last longer. 
I'm no expert, however, living in the world we do now trying to make small changes in your life to be more sustainable has never been more important. I thought I'd gather a few easy ways to start making adjustments if you haven't already, how to have more of a balance in your shopping habits and maybe give you that nudge to have that big clear out you've been avoiding for a while. 

  • Having a browse around the charity shops

I never thought I'd say that a huge part of my wardrobe is bought from charity shops and the things I wore most over the Summer sometimes cost me £2.00. With me volunteering at St.Elizabeth hospice a couple of times a week, it does mean I get to see all of the clothes as I process donations or hunt around the shop before it opens which is great but I try to visit as many as I can in any town I'm in as you never know what you might find. I think that's the most exciting part of it. If you find something amazing, it feels like a piece of buried treasure that costs a fraction of the price it once was on the high street. One of the downfalls is that it can be very hit and miss; there can be periods of time where I will find nothing I like and vice versa. But even owning a couple of items helps the planet but visibly donating to charity goes a long way too and is so appreciated. 

This also goes for vintage or retro markets, equally providing the same excitement if you're anything like me.

  • Have regular clear outs and sell or give to charity
Sometimes my wardrobe gets a bit too full as it bursts out of the doors and to me, having that many clothes if I don't wear everything in there, is way too excessive. It is then time to pull everything out and when I say everything, I mean everything and go through each item. There are many ways you can sort through your clothes but I like to ask myself a few things:

     If I saw this in a shop would I buy it again? 

    How many times have I worn this?
    Does it still spark the same joy as when I bought it?

And being ruthless is key, I should probably take my own advice on that one as I am definitely the person to keep things if they have sentimental value, which is okay to a certain extent obviously. 

Not only does this clear your wardrobe, but the cliche 'tidy house, tidy mind' is definitely true. Especially as we are coming into a new season, one for new beginnings and goals, it's the perfect time for a clear out to help your mind.

  • Shop in your wardrobe
Once you've cleared out your wardrobe, you may have discovered some items you forgot you had which creates the perfect time to experiment and in the simplest of terms, have your own fashion show. I occasionally spend some time scrolling on my favourite fashion accounts on Instagram for inspiration to see if I can recreate the outfits with items that I already have. By going through, making outfits with things you've never worn before and getting wear out of those means that you might not have to go out and buy something new. 

  • Buy on Vinted
Forget Depop (sorry Depop), the second hand app on the rise is Vinted and chances are, you've probably heard of it but if you haven't, it's a bit like Ebay albeit a lot easier and there is no bidding involved. If you're looking for a specific item, Vinted can be guaranteed to have it for a lot less than it was originally. The shot of serotonin finding an item you love, in your size and for a much lower price can give you is unmatched. And you're helping someone else out too by buying their clothes, it's a win win. 

With that being said, you can also sell on there too! 

  • Invest in staple pieces and find that BALANCE

Being completely sustainable is hard but it's about creating a healthy balance that's more important. I definitely don't own or buy sustainable clothes all the time and it's okay to still buy fast fashion from time to time. However, if I do, I'm currently learning to buy pieces that are more timeless and will last a long time, not things I will fall out of love with if the trend has passed. There are some things that I will buy from shops I know I can rely on for some items in my wardrobe, like jeans, coats, jumpers etc, 'the staples'. 

Bethan xx

Stealing Julia Robert's style | Notting Hill

16 September 2022

If you know me, you know that me and Notting Hill go hand in hand. I'm a huge fan of Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant as actors, his dancing scene in Love Actually will forever be ingrained in my brain. 

Notting Hill is one of those films that I put on and instantly makes me feel in a better mood, I just love it. The late 90s style, the London scenery, the soundtrack and obviously the storyline and William and Anna's unstable but movie like (ironic) relationship. So in a nutshell, everything. Stick on a rom-com and I am hooked. 

As I explained in a previous post, whenever I watch a film, I take inspiration from the style and try and recreate the outfits as best as possible or end up on Asos instead scrolling for hours. 

As we prepare to eek into Autumn style, which takes me a while to get used to after wearing summer dresses for a few months, Anna Scott does it pretty perfectly; from berets to leather jackets and the classic Vans trainer.

Black wool beret- Asos

Cat eye sunglasses in shiny black- Asos

Cat eye sunglasses in black- Bershka vis Asos

Oversized faux leather blazer in black- Bershka via Asos

Faux leather cropped blazer jacket in black- Topshop via Asos

Faux leather trench coat in brown- Bershka via Asos

Leather look trench in black- Vila via Asos

I think this is THE epitome of Notting Hill fashion. The different textures between the leather and wool contrast so well together and the famous incognito sunglasses paired with the look finish off the 'trying to be hidden as I'm a famous film star' style. 

Leather belt in brown with gold antique buckle- Asos

Wide faux suede belt with burnished gold western buckle in brown- Asos

Basic high neck funnel top in slate- Topshop via Asos

Rib vest with assymmetrical strap in grey marl- Asos

Vest in grey marl- Topshop via Asos

Large linen cover up in teal- Monsoon

Without the floral kimino, this outift is so easy to recreate and one of those 'less is more' kind of looks; with the wide leg blue jeans, brown belt and a grey vest. The links I've given aren't exactly the same items as the ones in the image shown but you may have these in your wardrobe already, or anything similar will create this simplistic outfit. However, the kimono isn't to everyone's taste so I chose only one in case you want to fully steal the look but so many things can be worn instead. It has be something of a loose jacket shape so for me, I would maybe wear a blazer or even a cardigan. I think the hair and the jewellery complete this outfit perfectly, an up-do and dainty necklaces and bracelets. 

(stain not to be recreated)

What is your favourite look? 

Bethan xx

Life after A-levels | The highs and the lows

14 September 2022

*dusts off keyboard* 

First of all, I feel like I should begin with a 'hello'. It's been over a year! And a lot has happened. I finished my A levels! Getting through the year felt like a bigger achievement overall though for me and I'm sure a lot of you who also took exams will feel the same. 

In a nutshell, (as I've written a bit about my sixth form experience before) I did enjoy sixth form but like everything, it came with its highs, lows and a lot of stress. Many people told me it was the hardest thing they'd ever done, which slightly terrified me and I chose not to think about it too much during the process, but I would agree. However, it all depends on the individual and time management, organisation and revising as you go along. I worked solidly from January until I had my last exam in early June with my own revision timetable of working until 6ish in the evening. I never thought I'd be able to do that as I'd always been that person that was up until 10/11pm working in my bedroom and never giving myself a break. 

Being told (by my amazing counsellor) that I had to stop revising at 6pm and only work in 15 minute blocks was an immediate 'I'm going to fail' moment. That sounds dramatic but my mind raced with thoughts of how am I even going to get anything done to how am I going to cope with feeling like I should be revising when I'm not. Somehow, I followed the timetable and it could not have been more beneficial for me. There is a science behind it that I won't go into now but essentially my brain now had time to file away information into my long term memory from 6pm until the next day and I had time for myself in the evening to switch off and do whatever I wanted to do. An ideal situation. 

Something that I know I am is a creature of structure. I love a routine and anytime I'm not in one, my body feels it too. So the idea of finishing my A-levels and being out of that routine I had been in for nearly 6 months was scary to me. 

Fast forward to June time and my last exam. Every exam had gone well until the last (how convenient) and I did not get the weight off your shoulders feeling I felt I should have. As well as celebrating in the evening (with a fresh orange juice in a restaurant- that's wild for me), I instantly felt like a hole had been created within me. And as sad as it sounds, that hole was revision. The thing that I knew, was used to and did every day suddenly wasn't a part of my life anymore and I didn't know what to do with myself. 

For the first two weeks of my Summer, my anxiety was at an all time high. I hated it, hated being off, hated having more time and as a result, I was quite ill with the stress my mind had given my body. 

Some would call this time 'the best summer of your life'. People would say 'you must feel amazing!' which I agreed to with gritted teeth until I plucked up the courage to say 'umm it feels a bit strange', an understatement to say the least. I was frustrated with myself because I was focusing on how I should feel, rather than how I actually felt. This time is different for everyone and it's perfectly fine if you don't feel on top of the world post exams. It's more common to have a 'sooo what now?' feeling. 

To make me feel mentally and physically better, I had to come up with a new routine. One that was loose and flexible but made me feel more secure. I say 'loose' because I also felt shattered after doing my exams and who wants to be waking up at 7am when they don't have to? I worked with my counsellor and decided that because I was used to working in the mornings on study leave, I would carry on with a similar pattern of ticking things off on a do list to feel like I could have the afternoon of doing whatever I wanted. Here is where I could go on a tangent about the problems this feeling can cause but I am/was (working on it) one of those people that feels like they have to earn rest. Maybe it's a Virgo thing? I'm not sure.  Obviously, I wasn't going to be doing things like school work but even ticking off a yoga session or some chores around the house was enough to make me feel like I had achieved something. 

The more I was doing this, the more my body was feeling settled. It was around this kind of time that I also started volunteering at my local St.Elizabeth Hospice charity shop. My auntie became the manager a couple of months before I started which massively helped me feel more confident in doing something that was out of my comfort zone. It was certainly a start! I had a focus and responsibility again. I think doing something completely away from what I was used to was what I needed and with my love of charity shopping, it was a dream scenario. 

Then became the idea of getting a paid job. I type it this way because it was something I had always wanted; earning my own money and being able to buy clothes that I probably didn't need. But when it came to it, the idea of staying at home was much more appealing. However, the confidence working at the charity shop had given me allowed me to walk into a bakery in my town and enquire about a part-time job I had seen being advertised in the window. I spent nearly two months there before deciding to give back my apron. I give huge respect to anyone that works in a similar job and can handle it! Especially the 5:30am alarm!

Even though my time there wasn't long, it was one of the best things I could have done. Between struggling to put the jam in doughnuts and always forgetting how much a sourdough loaf costs, I learned everything you possibly could in a first job. I grew even more confident and loved interacting with customers. 

In between volunteering and working at the bakery, I tried to enjoy my summer as best as I could. I have a family holiday to look back on, many a beach day at our beach hut and so many visits to coastal towns near us. I managed to pack a lot in! Evidently, it came with its less exciting days too but that's normal. 

And in a roundabout way, we are kind of up to present day. I'm writing this on a day when I would be going back to school but obviously, this year I'm not. It feels strange. The thinking of answers to say to people when they ask what you're doing for the next year has already commenced but I am trying to be okay with simply saying 'I'm taking a break', 'I'm taking a gap year', or 'I'm just seeing where the year takes me'. 

It's so okay not to know and to figure it out along the way. It's important to recognise how you feel about certain changes and not let anyone else or society make you feel like you should be feeling different, happier in my case. (I'm actually now thrilled I don't need to be thinking about revision, lol!) 

Bethan xxx

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