highlights of twenty fifteen

Highlights of Twenty Fifteen


highlights of twenty fifteen, 2015, year review, memories, thegirlinspired

At the start of this year I decided I was going to keep a little box full of positive memories. I find my memory isn’t so great at remembering the good stuff, and sometimes I struggle to remember just what I’ve done all year, which can sometimes leave me feeling like my life is at a bit of a standstill. So I got myself a box and any time something good happened I would write it on a piece of paper with the plan to get them all out at the end of the year and read over all the lovely things that had happened that year. I thought it might be quite nice to share a few of those things with you, and maybe you could leave a few of your own positive memories from 2015 in the comments.

highlights of twenty fifteen, 2015, year review, memories, thegirlinspired

➳ I Turned 30!

This may not seem like a good thing to some people, and I’ll admit that the month or so leading up to my birthday, the thought of turning 30, of being in my 30’s, did fill me with dread. But the night before, as I lay in bed, I thought back to when I was about to turn 20 – I had that same feeling then about turning 20 as I did about turning 30. I thought about all the things I had done, people I had met, places I had been to and things I’d experienced in those last 10 years, and it made me really excited to see what the next 10 years has in store for me.

➳ Seeing Fall Out Boy Live!

This kind of ties in with the above. Radio 1’s Big Weekend was held in Norwich this year, which just happens to be where I live. I so desperately wanted to get tickets but unfortunately they sold out too quickly. Luckily for me, one of my friends had snagged a couple and, as a birthday present, invited me to go with her on the Saturday. I was beyond thrilled! The weather was perfect – sunny but not too hot – the company was great and we all had a blast, listening and dancing to the various amazing bands, but the absolute highlight for me was Fall Out Boy. I’ve loved them ever since I first heard their music in One Tree Hill, they were amazing and basically performed all my favourites. It was the Best Day Ever!

➳ I Ran 5k!

Even since I started my fitness journey I’ve had in mind the goal of running 5k. Not necessarily in a race, but just being able to run that distance without having to stop to walk. I’d never been able to do it before, the most I’d managed previously was about 2 miles, but this year, with Ben’s help (running with me and pacing me!) I was able to finally reach my goal and it felt so good!

➳ I Got Back On A Plane!

I’ve mentioned this a few times in the past.. Ben and I went travelling towards the end of 2010, and at the end of that 6 and a half month trip was a flight to Greece where we had the worst turbulence I have ever experienced. I’m a nervous flyer due to turbulence at the best of times and this one flight completely put me off flying. In fact, the moment I was able to turn my phone back on and had signal I was trying to google alternative ways of getting back home… Anyway, this year I put my big girl pants on and drew from within me some deeply hidden source of courage and got back on a plane. Admittedly it was only a 2 and a half hour flight to Ibiza for a week, but it was a start and now I don’t feel quite so apprehensive about flying.

highlights of twenty fifteen, 2015, year review, memories, thegirlinspired

➳ Reaching Over 5k Subscribers & Blogging On A Regular Basis

I know most YouTubers will say it’s not about the numbers, but when you start reaching milestones you can’t help but feel like you are doing something right. This year I reached my first big milestone – 5000 subscribers. I still can’t quite get my head around that number, but if you are one of them then I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and giving me the confidence to keep pursuing this little hobby of mine. This year was also the year I feel like I got on a regular schedule with my blog. I’ve kind of dabbled in and out of it over the nearly 4 years since I started this blog, but I finally have a schedule in place and plenty of ideas flowing. Again, if you follow my blog and like reading what I have to say, thank you so much, you have no idea how much that means to me!

➳ I Got Myself Happier!

I started this year in a pretty dark and miserable place. I was so full of negativity and feeling worthless and I couldn’t see my way out of it. Gradually as the year has progressed I’ve opened up to people close to me and started to see how off-base my thinking was. That’s not to say that I don’t still suffer with those dark and lonely thoughts sometimes, but now I’m much better at recognising when I am in that funk and can try my hardest not to believe in those thoughts or react to them. I’ve been steadily working on focusing on the positive side of life, and I have to say that Tone It Up’s Fit Fierce and Fabulous book has played a huge part in that – giving me a road map of positive things to focus on, do and say to myself daily. It’s something I am going to continue to focus on next year but I’ll talk more about that in my New Years Goals post I’ll be putting up on Friday!

➳ I Hosted My First Ever Christmas For My Family!

Ben and I have lived in our house for 2 and a half years. For our first Christmas I just did a little roast for the two of us, the second year we went to Ben’s parents on Christmas Eve and stayed there til Boxing Day. This year I had my close family all come round in the morning to open presents and I then proceeded to cook the Christmas dinner. The timings of everything always stress me out and our kitchen isn’t the biggest, but it all came together with the help of Ben and my Mum, and we all had a lovely day together. I’m so pleased it all turned out well and I loved getting to spend some much needed time with my family.

So that’s my 2015 in a nutshell. Thinking back over these past 12 months to all the wonderful things that have happened has left me with that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. I hope 2015 has been good to you and I hope 2016 brings even greater things.

See you in the New Year!

highlights of twenty fifteen, 2015, year review, memories, thegirlinspired

Merry Christmas

merry christmas tree decorations family presents thegirlinspired lunch dinner love

Just a quick little post to say Merry Christmas and thank you for following my little blog. I’m planning on making a few changes to it in the new year, so stay tuned for that… Hopefully you’ll like it!

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and New Year if you celebrate it. If not, I just hope you enjoy this time of year and that 2016 brings you closer to your dreams.

merry christmas tree decorations baubles white santa claus thegirlinspired


merry christmas cards decorations thegirlinspired


merry christmas tree decorations baubles glass fairy lights thegirlinspired


merry christmas home decor decorations candle reindeer thegirlinspired


merry christmas tree decorations baubles fairy lights thegirlinspired


merry christmas tree decorations presents under the tree thegirlinspired


merry christmas tree decorations baubles fairy lights thegirlinspired


merry christmas tree decorations colourful baubles fairy lights thegirlinspired


merry christmas tree decorations family presents thegirlinspired


merry christmas tree decorations family presents thegirlinspired cat kitten


merry christmas tree decorations family presents thegirlinspired carving turkey lunch dinner


merry christmas tree decorations family presents thegirlinspired lunch dinner


merry christmas tree decorations family presents thegirlinspired lunch dinner

Christmas Wishlist

Obviously I’m not expecting to get all or even some of these things, but this is just what it currently on my wish list for Christmas, in case you are in need of inspiration 😉

I’ve been wanting to try Stila for ages and this set seems to be a good way to try a few different things at once. It comes with a deluxe sized mascara, one of their famous lip glazes along with 12 mostly neutral eyeshadows in varying finishes.
A couple of my friends have this and when I smelled it I thought it was the perfect home scent. It’s fresh, a tiny bit fruity, with a woody base and isn’t overpowering. I know some reed diffusers, even though they have a nice scent, can be so strong they become offensive. I don’t feel that way about this one, and I think this would just make my home smell lovely.

Tarte Lips For Daze LipSurgence Set – $34
Another brand that I have wanted to try for a while. In this set you get 3 matte and 2 satin lip tints in an array of shades to suit every occasion.

Origins Superstar Minis – £35
I picked up a little Origins set some time last year and loved everything in it. This kit includes the GinZing moisturiser and eye cream which were in that set, but this one also comes with High Potency Night-A-Mins, Checks and Balances, Modern Friction, Clear Improvement, and Make a Difference. I have high hopes that my skin would love all of these!

Neewer Ring Light – £69.99
Not something everyone is going to have on their wish list I’m sure, but I’d really like a ring light for filming videos. I currently have a light box but it takes up a lot of space in my small room, and this ring light can be attached to my tripod along with my camera, thus saving me space whilst still allowing me to film in less-than-ideal lighting situations!

A Girl’s Best Friend by Lindsey Kelk – £3.85
Lindsey Kelk is the author of my favourite books – the I Heart series. She’s back with a new Christmassy book based in New York, this time with Tess from the About A Girl series as the focus, although I’ve heard you may run into Angela and Jenny Lopez in those pages… I cannot wait to get my hands on this!

Lisa Angel Mainland UK Pendant – £14
I’d never heard of Lisa Angel until a friend bought me one of their necklaces for my birthday and I was hooked. They have so many lovely pieces of jewellery, a lot of unique pieces that I’ve not seen anywhere else, and the best part is it’s so affordable! I love dainty jewellery and this UK pendant is one that I definitely have my eye on.

I’m sure I could think of a few more things if I sat here for long enough, but these are just the first few things that came to mind.

What’s on your wish list this year?

Journal Prompt #2 – Music


So far these journal prompt are not as easy as I thought they were going to be! I struggled to think of a situation that fit in with the Crossroads theme I blogged about last month (you can read that here), and this one is even harder! Here’s the prompt:

We all have songs that really mean something to us. Often just hearing it can take us right back to that place and we are able to re-experience the memory associated with the song. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but either way music has the ability to really draw things out of us and evoke deep emotion. Choose a song that has a particular meaning to you. Tell the story of the memory associated with the song, sharing as much detail as you can. Take us there; let us experience it with you.

Just over 9 years ago I set up a MySpace account, as was the done thing back then. I’d not long ended a relationship that hadn’t been right for a long while when out of the blue I had a message from a guy that was easily the most gorgeous man that had ever shown interest in me. I was smitten. I don’t know if any of you will remember this, but on your MySpace account you used to be able to choose a song to play whenever anyone visited your profile, and his was Naive by The Kooks.

Anyway, after a month of messages, both instant and text, we finally went on our first date. I was so nervous and shy having never really dated before, but we kept it pretty low key, just going to a quiet bar for a couple of drinks and to chat. At the end of the date he drove me home and gave me a sweet goodnight kiss. I was totally blissed out and walked back into my house with a huge grin on my face that I couldn’t shake.

A little later that night I got a text from him, telling me that he had driven home with The Kooks album blaring out, singing at the top of his lungs cause he had had such a good time and couldn’t wait for our next date. It was the best feeling in the world knowing that he felt the same way as I did in that moment.

Now, 9 years on, we’re still together (now engaged and living together!), and whenever I hear Naive it makes me smile and reminds me of that sweet beginning and all of the amazing things we’ve done together since.

What songs remind you of certain moments in your life?

whitlingham lake, test shots, new camera, canon dos 700d, swan, lake, bird, nature

New Camera Test Shots: Whitlingham Lake

Soo I bought myself a new camera…. It’s the Canon EOS 700D that I’ve had my eye on for a while and I finally bit the bullet and purchased it. I’m hoping to use it to film videos for my channel as well as for blog photos, so hopefully the quality will improve on both platforms soon, just don’t be too hard on me whilst I’m learning how to use my new baby in the meantime!

Ben and I recently went for a walk around Whitlingham Lake again, and I took a few shots with the camera to get in some practise and thought I would share them here. Enjoy!

new camera whitlingham lake


new camera whitlingham lake nature trees


new camera whitlingham lake nature


new camera whitlingham lake nature


new camera whitlingham lake autumn walk silhouette


new camera whitlingham lake nature evening


new camera whitlingham lake nature


new camera whitlingham lake nature


new camera whitlingham lake nature


new camera whitlingham lake nature


new camera whitlingham lake geese goose ducks swan birds nature


new camera whitlingham lake nature water


new camera whitlingham lake nature swan bird


new camera whitlingham lake nature swan bird


new camera whitlingham lake nature swan bird

Journal Prompt #1 – Crossroads

journal prompt crossroads writing life thegirlinspired

I’m currently a little bit obsessed with Kayla over at MicroscopeBeauty, and whilst scrolling through her old lifestyle blog I stumbled across a series of “journal prompt” posts that were really interesting. Kayla got the prompts from SometimesSweet and I thought I would steal the idea as I figured it would be a good way to open up and make my blog a little more personal. So here we go with the first entry (feel free to leave your own response in the comments or post a link to your post, I’d love to see everyone else’s thoughts on these topics)

Everyone has a time in their life they view as a crossroad. Sometimes you can see it as it;s happening, and you’re able to choose one way or another. Other times you may not realise you’re there until you look back, and see what a turning point it really was. This week, write about a time you view as a marker in your life; a distinct place where things changed, for better or worse.

To travel or stay and secure a permanent job. That was my crossroad about 5 years ago. It took me a little while to realise it was a crossroad because now it’s just a part of my history, a series of events that led me to where I am now, and I have to remind myself that I did have a choice. I could have chosen the other option and life might look different right now. Then again, it might not.

At the time I had been working for 8 months, in a job I enjoyed, as a temp. I wanted to be kept on permanently but that wasn’t an option. Around that time my boyfriend, Ben, finished the contract he was working on and got a rather nice payout. It’d been his dream for a while to go travelling, so with this extra money burning a hole in his pocket he asked me if I would go see the world with him. Of course I said yes! I believe it was the very next day my employer told me they would be able to offer me a permanent position…

To cut a not-so-interesting story short, I decided to travel, figuring it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that wasn’t likely to come around again for a long time, if at all. So off we went! We had an amazing time and as luck would have it, by the time we got back to England, there was another job opening at my old company and a couple of weeks later I was back in employment, doing the same job I had loved before I left.

If I had decided not to travel who knows what direction my life would have taken. Maybe I would be further along in my career by now, maybe I’d be exactly where I am. But I do know that my relationship would have been very different. On that trip Ben proposed to me, and since then we have bought a house together. People told us that being pretty much constantly together for 6 months and relying on each other for everything would make or break us, and I’m happy to say that it brought us closer together.

I’m glad I chose to travel and got to experience so many beautiful places, and glad it made my relationship stronger. I’m equally glad that I was able to come back to a job I loved, working with some lovely people that I can now call close friends.

Is there a moment in your life that you can pick out as a crossroad? Tell us about it in the comments!

10 Things That Make Me Happy In Autumn

happy autumn fall purple sky sunrise sunset thegirlinspired

1. Colder, crisp days whilst the sun is still shining
2. Being outside, with the sun on your face, a stillness and peacefulness all around, and the sound of a prop plane flying overhead
3. Going for walks with Ben and collecting conkers or just talking about fun plans
4. Yankee Candle Fireside Treats…
5. Homemade chunky minestrone soup (from thepioneerwoman)
6. Boots, jeans and jumpers
7. Halloween and Christmas approaching
8. Stores decorating for Christmas
9. Snuggling up watching a movie whilst the rain pours down outside
10. Lush Cinders

Ibiza Photo Diary

I’m now back from my holiday in Ibiza and thought I’d share a few of the photos from the trip. If you want to see more, there’ll be a vlog up a week on Sunday over on my YouTube channel =) Despite the weather turning a bit wet towards the end of our week long stay, we both had a really good time, lots of much needed rest and relaxation. Here’s the piccys, I hope you enjoy!

ibiza holiday photos airport plane flying
ibiza holiday photos hotel sirinis lizard
ibiza holiday photos palm trees sunset
ibiza holiday photos beach sunbathing bikini ocean
ibiza holiday photos beach ocean waves tree
ibiza holiday photos sunset
ibiza holiday photos outfits of the day fashion bikini dress shorts crochet
ibiza holiday photos ocean view tower beach
ibiza holiday photos blue sea ocean water sunset sky
ibiza holiday photos food hard rock cafe apple pie ice cream drink
ibiza holiday photos all inclusive sirinis food buffet dessert
ibiza holiday photos sunset rock ocean
ibiza holiday photos sunset ocean beach romantic
ibiza holiday photos town beach portinatx ocean sunbathing
ibiza holiday photos journal diary pool beach sunset silhouette relax
ibiza holiday photos thunderstorm rain dark sky beach ocean
ibiza holiday photos couple love driving beach bikini
ibiza holiday photos beach ocean sea water
ibiza holiday photos wildlife lizard seagull bird beach hotel
ibiza holiday photos couple cuddle love plane flying flight home

What’s In My… Travel Toiletries Bag

travel toiletries

If you saw my last video on my carry on bag you’ll know that I’m currently on holiday in Ibiza for the week. If you want to see what makeup I took, make sure you subscribe to my channel and stay tuned for Wednesday’s video. In the meantime, here are the toiletries I packed:

travel toiletries

Firstly, actually, let me just mention the toiletries bag I picked up from Boots that’s holding everything. I believe this was £10-12 and I’ve been wanting a toiletries bag like this for ages, you know the kind that you can open out and hang up. This has 3 different compartments, 2 of which are attached with velcro so can be easily removed if needs be. Although the white fabric outer cover isn’t the most practical I really loved the design with the various different landmarks from around the world, very appropriate for travel.

travel toiletries

The Shower Stuff:
I’m taking the Charles Worthington Volume & Bounce Shampoo and their Moisture Seal Conditioner, mainly because I already had these in travel size but I do really like them. My cleanser is, of course, the Sanctuary Hot Cloth Cleanser and I’ll be bringing a few muslin cloths/flannels to use with it. I have a mini of the Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body wash which is my favourite, and I have a brand new Venus razor and Colgate Toothbrush for the trip.

travel toiletries

The Skincare Stuff:
To quickly cleanse my face in the morning I’ve decanted some of my Garnier Micellar Water into a little Bioderma bottle I had laying around. I have the Talika Photo-Hydra moisturiser for day and my La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo for night. I also have minitures of the Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Buttercream and the Rituals Qi Gong Anti-Perspirant, and finally some cotton buds and cotton pads as they always come in useful.

travel toiletries

Life Lately… An Ins & Outs Post

I’ve been seriously lacking in the blog motivation area lately! In an attempt to kick my butt into gear I thought I’d get into the groove of things with an ins and outs post, as I haven’t done one of those for a while.

Jurassic World – I’ve seen this twice now and think it’s amazing! I was a huge fan of Jurassic Park (the first one, the second and third weren’t so great!), and to be honest I felt like the whole dinosaur thing was over and done with. But my brother wanted to go see it, so we went and I’m so glad I did. I loved every moment of it and some bits really had me on the edge of my seat. I would definitely recommend it, especially if you’re a Jurassic Park fan.

Sunny Summer – For once Britain is having a rather nice summer!! Granted there are still a few cloudy and rainy days in the mix, but it’s also been gloriously hot and I’ve had the chance to enjoy it for a change. Ben and I have been working on the garden (update on that here) and we’ve had a few days out enjoying the lovely weather. Let’s just hope it hangs around for a while.

Nearly 5000 Subscribers! – This has been a big goal for my channel since I started and I can’t believe I’m almost there! I know everyone says that the numbers shouldn’t matter, but you can’t help but feel like you must be doing something right when all these people subscribe because they want to see more of what you have to offer. Rest assured there will be a giveaway when I reach 5k – any suggestions on giveaway prizes?

Saving For My Wedding – After being engaged for nearly 5 years Ben and I are starting to save for our wedding!! No solid plans as yet other than a deadline of 3 years. It’s going to be a very budget affair as, although I said “Ben and I” are saving, I’m actually the only one saving for the wedding. Ben is saving for our next home instead, which is equally important for both of us as we have decided we’d like to start a family and would like a slightly bigger house to do that in. So big expenses on the horizon!

Lashes – my lashes have been looking so good thanks to RapidLash – I will be doing a review on that, I just need to gather all the pictures together and type up the review!

Lost Healthy Lifestyle Motivation – actually it’s more like a lack of self discipline. I still really want to eat healthy, workout consistently, get enough sleep, all that good stuff.. I just lack the discipline to actually do what needs to be done =/

Planner Planning/Decorating – I’m finding it harder to plan/decorate in my new Personal Planner than I thought. It isn’t the same size as the Erin Condren planner so the stickers I’ve bought don’t quite fit properly. I can work around that but at the same time I feel like I need more stickers and washi tape to decorate and I don’t have the funds for that, especially now I’m saving for a wedding. I will persevere though. Do any of you have one of these planners? If so how do you decorate it/plan with it?

Monthly Back Pain – this may be a little TMI but about a week or so before That Time Of The Month I get horrible back pain. Every Month. It actually seems like it’s getting worse each month. I wake up with pain all the way down my spine from the top of my neck all the way down to my lower back. I might maybe have a couple of times throughout the day where it seems to ease off a little but it’s always back full force by bedtime. Any suggestions on things I can try or do to stop this, I’m all ears..

This turned into a longer post than I anticipated!! I hope you are all having a lovely summer so far, and hopefully I will speak to you in another blogpost soon..