Chapter 2016 | The End

Hello you lovely lot, long time no...read?

I apologise for going a bit MIA on you all but December 2016 has been pretty awful. At the beginning of the month, my family said goodbye to my beautiful Nanny Shelagh, it was a complete shock to us all and it still doesn't seem real. I've never really experienced grief before and it has taken some 'getting used' to, for a while it felt like I was on a constant emotional rollercoaster and I think it will remain that way for a while. 

I had planned to talk about how awful this year has been but one of the reasons my Nan loved my blog was because she thought it was really positive. Therefore, I'm starting 2017 as I mean to go on and taking a positive outlook on the past year. Hopefully they have Facebook in heaven because I think you're going to like this one Nan!

Without further ado, I present to you my best bits of 2016...

UK Lifestyle Blog

Budapest

After hearing people rave about Budapest, myself and G finally ticked it off our travel bucket list. I absolutely loved Budapest, it's so beautiful and I would definitely recommend visiting!

Wonderful Wednesday #11

Brrrrrrrr! Hasn't it got super chilly all of a sudden? Not that I'm really complaining, as I have mentioned time and time again, I am a winter baby through and through! Anyho, how are you are all? I hope you're having a lovely week so far. Shall we get on with all things woooonderful?... 

uk lifestyle blog blooming el


Pretty Scenes

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned some type of weather/landscape in every wonderful wednesday for the last three months. Autumn and Winter just create the most beautiful scenes. From the sun setting amongst the orange trees, offering a warm glow through my office window, to the cold frosty mornings with bright blue skies and white glistening grass accompanying me on my drive to work. There is so much wonderfulness outside and I'm glad I get to witness it all.

Experimenting with Food

I'm not sure if I can really call this experimenting but as I'm not very adventurous with cooking, just adding salt to my meal could be classed as an experiment!

G recently tasted a little bit of my pesto pasta and seemed to really enjoy it. I'm always trying to find new foods for G to eat, he's such a fussy eater so if he tries something new and likes it, I immediately take note.

On Sunday, I whipped up pesto pasta but added in some broccoli and spinach...just because. I really liked it and G seemed to enjoy it. I think next time, I'll add more oil and maybe chuck in a few bits of bacon.

I really need to make more of an effort when it comes to cooking, maybe I'll look in to taking a community course...hmm, yes maybe.

Shopping with My Mum

On Tuesday evening, my Mum dragged me to Biggleswade to help her find a wedding outfit. It was nice to have a little shop, just the two of us. I always enjoy helping my Mumma pick out an outfit and although it was short, it was super sweet.

Weekend away

Ahhh I just want it to be Friday already. I've booked half a days holiday so me and G can get up to Nottingham earlier. I'm really looking forward to our little Christmas adventure, the thought of finally spending some quality time together and completing our Christmas shopping is getting me through this week.

Goal Writing

I finally set myself some goals for 2017 and it felt so good to get them all down. I say all, there's only a few but they're pretty big ones. I've chose to split them into months, as I think they're easier to work towards when you have a specific time limit, instead of just saying 'In 2017, I will...'

The big goal for next year is for me and G to be in our own place by September. After New York, it'll be time to save save save. So please, nobody invite me to anything cool because I won't have the dollar.

Aaaaaand that's a wrap! If you would like to share your wonderfulness with myself and the gang* on Twitter, then please do and don't forget to use the hashtag #wonderfulwednesday! I hope you all have a super wonderful rest of week and a fabulous beginning to December (eeeek, can you believe it's nearly the end of the year?!) 

SallyMichelleKateJoHelenCatSamLauraMimmiMartinaIsabelle, and Kerri.

Wonderful Wednesday #10

Happy Wednesday all! I managed to sneak past last Wednesday without anyone noticing I hadn't posted (until now, when I've just admitted it to you all). I was having a bit of a mare on Tuesday evening, trying to find a hotel to stay in Belfast that was 1. Not ridiculously expensive, 2. Not out in the sticks and 3. Not a complete hell hole. I think sometimes mine and G's (mainly G's) high standards really do get in the way. By the time I had given up and slammed the lid down on my laptop, I was in a bit of a mood and THEN I remembered that I should be scheduling a wonderful Wednesday post. I failed, miserably. However, I am back this week and raring to go with all things lovely!

wonderful wednesday post

New Life

So my *kind-of-practically-is-may-aswell-be-step-sister* gave birth to a beautiful little girl called Harriet on Thursday. I found out via the very modern form of Facebook that Rheya had a bit of a tough time in labour BUT I am sure herself and fiance James would do it all over again because Harriet looks like the most wonderful little reward. I am yet to squeeze those chubby arms and cheeks but I can't wait till I do. Congratulations again guys!

Bruno Mars

Will this guy ever stop being funky? Seriously. Like, stop hogging all the damn funk and give me some of it. On Friday, Bruno Mars' new album was released, so I did what any sane human being would do...downloaded it from Spotify and jammed to those funky sounds all the way to work. FORGET YO INSTAGRAM AND YO TWITTER. 

If you haven't listened to it yet, I urge you all to pick up your phones, tablets, laptops and get on down to some of those beastly Bruno beats. Some favourites of mine include Perm, Straight Up and Down and Chunky

A Weekend Away

After the trouble we had with finding a hotel in Belfast, I really thought I wouldn't get to visit a Christmas market this year. However, after ditching the travelling by plane idea and researching the best Christmas markets in the UK, we finally came up with a plan. On the first weekend of December, we're visiting Nottingham AND Coventry to explore their Christmas markets and finish the rest of our Christmas shopping. I'm really looking forward to spending more time with G. Now he's moved back to his old store, he works almost every weekend and with myself working throughout the week, we hardly get to spend a whole day together, so I'm feeling super lucky to have him to myself for a whole 48 hours. 

P.s. If you have any recommendations of places to visit/eat in Nottingham or Coventry, please do let me know! 

Being Helpful

On Saturday, I helped my *not-yet-but-will-be-eventually-sister-in-law* set up her eldest daughters party. There was sooooooo much stuff to prepare but luckily we had six hours to make the hall look like a fairground. From pick n mix, to cake carousels, a mini hot dog stand and a balloon arch. The end result was wicked. It looked brilliant and myself and Mel were really quite chuffed with our work.

Date Nights

Yes, notice the s! PLURAL date nights. On Sunday, I took G out after work. We dined in a well known Italian restaurant, before settling down in front of the big screen to watch Fantastic Beasts at Broadway Cinema in Letchworth. It is the cutest (and warmest!) little cinema, with lots of extra legroom and ticket prices that don't break the bank! The film was much better than I had expected, I would definitely recommend it! 

Yesterday evening, G took it upon himself to surprise me with a date night. We ate Italian (again) and then visited Barn Theatre in Welwyn to watch The Lady in the Van. I thoroughly enjoyed the play and was really impressed with the acting, especially the lady who played Miss Shepherd. 

I never get to spend this much time with G in the evenings, so it has been rather lovely. He now has to work nine days in a row but I'm not too fussed because at the end of it, I'll get to spend a whole weekend with him. Hip-hip-hooray! 

That's all for this week my lovelies! I hope you're having a fantastic week and are experiencing lots of wonderful thaaangs. If you would like to share your wonderfulness with myself and the gang* on Twitter, then please do and don't forget to use #wonderfulwednesday! 

SallyMichelleKateJoHelenCatSamLauraMimmiMartinaIsabelle, and Kerri.

Wonderful Wednesday #9

Happy wonderful wednesday to you all! I hope you are all well and have had a brilliant start to the week! I've just returned from a very indulgent indian with some of my favourite people. Wrapped up in the cosiest dressing gown, with a stomach full of chicken korma and naan bread, I am ready to share all things wonderful with you...

wonderful wednesday blog post

Bagging a Parking Space

On Saturday I braved the Tesco car park in town. I don't normally go out on Saturday's as they're far too busy for my liking. I much prefer chilling out on the sofa, leaving my errands and little outings to Sunday morning. However, having spent several hours on the sofa binge watching Bates Motel, I thought I should get out of the house for a little bit. I hopped in my car and headed in to town. The roads were super busy and Tesco car park was rammed BUT as soon as I entered the car park, I managed to bag a spot in my usual area. The parking angels were definitely on my side that afternoon. I did a little cheery dance in my car, as a woman drove past looking very peeved. Sorry but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do...

Fondant Fancies 

After purchasing a packet of Fondant Fancies and demolishing two of the baby pink ones, I had assumed that I had eaten all of the little pink treasures. The following day, I was craving something sweet so I slowly made my way back to the packet, with the intention of settling for a chocolate one (which let's face it, nobody really likes). As I slid the box open, my eyes met a beautiful pink little square and I let out a mini squeal. It really is the small things that make my week wonderful! 

A Relaxing Morning

Yesterday, I had the ultimate pleasure of star fishing in bed for a good 30 minutes. G was on an early shift at work which meant I could catch up on Made in Chelsea whilst getting ready for work, without disturbing anyone. 

The sky was such a beautiful blue and the park opposite us was covered in the perfect white-grey frost (if you look closely in the picture above, you should be able to see it). If I could wish for one thing, it would be that G was a morning person. That we could rise early, enjoy the magical scene outside our bedroom window and slowly make our way downstairs for a breakfast feast. In the mean time, I'm happy for his work to schedule in a few more early shifts and have a slow morning or two all to myself. 

Angus and Julia Stone

Earlier this week, I read one of Alex's blog posts which mentioned the song she chose to walk down the aisle to. Intruigued, I followed the link and was greeted by such a beautiful sound. I have been listening to them on Spotify ever since, their songs create the most perfect serene atmosphere. I think my favourite song so far is All the Colours. I will be making the most out of my premium trial and getting as much Angus and Julia Stone lovin' as possible. 

That's all for this week folks! Now it's your turn - what has been making your week extra wonderful? Share your #wonderfulwednesday moments with myself and the rest of the gang* on Twitter

Wonderful Wednesday #8

Happy wonderful wednesday to you all! I cannot believe that yesterday was the 1st of November. I'm panicking slightly at not being as prepared for Christmas as I thought I was. I feel like I should have already started my Christmas shopping and have half of it wrapped, stored safely in my secret hiding place. How is it possible that we'll be letting in a new year through the front door within a matter of weeks?! 

Putting all panic aside, today is a day for happiness and celebrating the small things!

wonderful wednesday lifestyle blog

The Clocks going Back

I've been called weird on several occasions because of my love of the dark and all things cold and wintry. Some people are summer babies, I am a winter baby - through and through. I love driving home in the dark and whipping on my pj's as soon as I've set foot in the door. I love wrapping my dressing gown around me and settling down in front of the television. When the clocks went back on Sunday, I found myself out of bed and at the supermarket by half 10, which is pretty good going for someone who has a tendency to stay in bed till two in the afternoon. Some people think the clocks going back can be an absolute nightmare, I for one am absolutely loving it. 

Spotify

I recently signed up for the 30 day free trial of Spotify premium and oh my goodness, who knew premium life could be sooo good? I've created a playlist entitled Bubbles*, which hosts the most perfect collection of songs to sing your heart out too. I've featured a few of the songs from the film Dreamgirls and have loved performing 'One Night Only' to those stuck in traffic on my way to work.

*this playlist was originally created for when I have quality bath time but I've found myself singing along in the living room, my bedroom and in my car.

Cleaning

On Sunday, I had the house to myself and thought it would be a good opportunity to have a little tidy. I sorted all of the post out, binning newspapers from several months ago and chucking away takeaway menu's that have never and would never be used. There is something so theraputic about having a good old clear out! 

A Change of Plan

I mentioned in another Wonderful Wednesday post that myself and G were planning on saving for a years worth of rent and moving somewhere completely new. However, we had a little chat with my Mumma and her partner Steve and thought that it would be good for us to just find a place in our local area. I really want to set up our own little humble abode and think it's probably best to just bite the bullet before we get far too comfortable at my Mum's and spend all our house money on holidays! I'm constantly changing my mind on what I think we should do but this feels like the right option.

There you have it! Another short but sweet one. Now it's over to you, how has your week been? Share your #wonderfulwednesday moments with myself and the rest of the gang* on Twitter

SallyMichelleKateJoHelenCatSamLaura and Kerri.

Wonderful Wednesday #7

Happy hump day to you all! This week, I'm coming at you from my dining room table (can it still be called a dining room table if *technically* you don't have a dining room?) ready to give you a happy dose of Wonderful Wednesdayness. I normally write blog posts on the sofa or whilst in bed but I find I write so much better (and feel super profesh) when writing at a table. Which is why I cannot wait for me and G to get our own little place, I will definitely be finding room for a little office space, no matter how much G protests against it. 

Shall we get straight to it?

wonderful wednesday posts

Jane the Virgin 

UH this show. I love love love it. I'm watching the second episode of the third series right now (multitasking at its best). It's hilarious, tragic, dramatic and just UH so damn great. I find it best viewed in bed on a Sunday morning, wrapped up in your duvet covers with a toasted muffin or a warm croissant. 

Pie 

Food and Wonderful Wednesday posts just go hand in hand, don't they? Like salt and pepper, sausages and yorkshire puddings, chips and curry sauce, mmm. This week, my food comes in the form of the most delicious chicken, ham and leek pie ever made. On Thursday, myself and G treated ourselves to dinner at The Chequers pub in our local town. I've had this pie on several occasions and it just keeps getting better. 

Slippers 

After being wined and dined on Thursday, we popped in to Tesco on the way home to pick up a few bits. I always peruse the clothing section in Tesco (if you follow me on Instagram, you will be fully aware of how much I am in love with F&F clothing) and this time I found myself in the footwear section. I've really noticed how cold the house is getting and whilst I have the cosiest dressing gown to keep me warm, I'm afraid my feet have felt a little neglected. However, this all changed on Thursday night when I picked up the loveliest pair of grey boot slippers. They have been keeping my tootsies especially warm and snug! 

Autumn Landscapes

My drive to work is beautiful at the moment. A specatular display of tall trees, covered in red and orange leaves decorate each side of the road. I really want to capture the scene but driving whilst using your phone is extremely dangerous, and I don't fancy getting a fine. I really need to go for a little walk before the leaves are replaced by ice and muddy slush (eugh!). 

Gareth

Over the past few weeks, I've felt like me and G are back to the beginning of our relationship. You know the honeymoon phase, where you're getting to know them, you want to spend all of your time with them and you see them through these great big pink heart shaped glasses? I'm not sure whether it's because I met more of G's family last week and as a result, felt more connected to him but I just feel like a giddy little teenager. Last night, we were being really silly with each other and it just felt...lovely, really lovely. 

Aaaaand that's a wrap! Ah, how lovely was that? Now it's over to you, how has your week been? Share your #wonderfulwednesday moments with myself and the rest of the gang* on Twitter

SallyMichelleKateJoHelenCatSamLaura and Kerri.


What Do I Want to Be When I Am Older? | An Honest Answer

When I was around five years old, I was asked by my Nan what I wanted to be when I grew up. Apparently, my dream career at that young age was to work in Tesco on the checkout. By age eight, I had swapped scanning groceries for teaching children and when I finally reached secondary school, I had conjured up a range of different answers for the same terrifying question. From dancer to photographer, script writer to flight attendant, it was clear that I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do when I left school. Now, aged 21, having completed my GCSE's and A Levels and been employed at three different companies, I still fail to give an honest answer. 


uk lifestyle blog blooming el

There is so much pressure in society to sort your life out at the age of 18. Why are we being forced to make such a life changing decision at such an early stage in our lives?

Over the past year, I've really been trying to find my calling in life. However, no matter how hard I try to come up with a plan or how many times I look on a job site, I'm still uninspired. 

Last week, I let out all my negative feelings in a draft post - how I felt pressured to make a decision, how I felt unmotivated, exhausted and pissed off at my lack of career aspiration.

"Then I look at myself - an unmotivated 21 year old who gets bored very easily, a girl who has no career plan and no idea where she'll end up in the next three years. Am I supposed to just wait for an epiphany?"

Half way through writing the post, I started to feel a weight lift from my shoulders. I let out a sigh of relief, as if a little rant was all that I needed. Those paragraphs, written in a state of confusion and negativity, made me see clearly and think positively. I guess, in a way, writing that post was my epiphany. It made me realise that it's okay to not have a career plan, it's okay to not have an idea of what you want to be or where you want to end up.

For me, life isn't all about work. It isn't about getting a degree and climbing the career ladder. It's about having fun, being happy, going on adventures and spending time with loved ones.

'Nobody on his deathbed ever said, "I wish I had spent more time at the office."'

- Paul Tsongas 

What do I want to be when I grow up?  

I want to be on a plane travelling to a new destination. I want to be sitting in an arena, watching my favourite artist on stage. I want to be behind the camera, capturing a beautiful sunrise. I want to be at a dinner table, surrounded by my family. I want to be in bed on a Sunday morning, wrapped in my partners arms. I want to be laying out carrots and mince pies on Christmas Eve with my children. I want to be cooking up a storm in my own kitchen.

Happiness, health and balance - those are my life ambitions, my aspirations, my honest answer.

Do you know what you want to do in life? Do you feel pressured to make a decision? What are your life ambitions? I'd love to hear your thoughts, comment below or tweet me - I'm @eleanoraustin

Wonderful Wednesday #6

Is it that time again already?! I know, I know. I've mentioned time again but seriously, it just goes so fast! So in true time fashion, let's just jump straight to it, shall we?

wonderful wednesday blog posts

Reading

I've really upped my game this year when it comes to reading. I'm picking up my books before work, on my lunch break, before I go to sleep, and on the weekends in an attempt to get through as many as possible before we see in the new year. On Saturday afternoon, I plonked myself on the sofa and delved deep in to the Goblet of Fire, drawing out tales of the wizarding world as the blue sky slowly faded to black. If I ever have children, I'd want them to take on my love of reading and be able to find peace in settling down with a good book. 

A Suited and Booted G 

This is a little bittersweet but I guess that's kind of what these Wonderful Wednesday's are all about? Being able to find the good in the not so good, the spectacular in the mundane. Yesterday, I acompanied G to his Grandad's funeral. It was the first time I had seen G in a suit, a proper suit. Jacket, tie, shirt, the works. When I first met G, he lived in jogging bottoms and this mariners baseball jersey thing, so it came as quite a shock to see how smart (and handsome) he could actually look. 

Theraputic Writing 

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my mini thread about a post I'm currently writing. I've been feeling really confused and disheartened about not knowing what I want to do with my life and thought that if I wrote a blog post about it, a little angel would come along and give me some words of wisdom. I aggressively typed all of my negative feelings on to a blank screen and felt instant relief. Amongst my pessimistic words, I found positivity. Sometimes when you can't find a solution or are struggling to get your head around things, the best thing you can do is put pen to paper and just let it all out - spelling mistakes and all! 

Very short and sweet this week! How has your week been? Don't forget to share your #wonderfulwednesday moments with myself and the rest of the gang* on Twitter

SallyMichelleKateJoHelenCatSamLaura and Kerri.

Wonderful Wednesday #5

I can't believe it's Wednesday already! I know I say this a LOT but time seriously is just whizzing by me. I wake up on Monday morning, full of back to work blues, I blink and then suddenly it's the weekend again. Is this what growing old is all about?

Luckily, I've had some wonderful moments in the week to counteract those Monday blues. Let's get to it!

wonderful wednesday blog

Misty Mornings

Yesterday, I woke to find a thick grey sheet blocking the view outside my bedroom window. It was still there as I drove to work, trying desperately to keep the sun away from those sitting in traffic. There is something so comforting about misty mornings, it makes me feel all...snuggly. 

Roast Dinner 

It wouldn't be a #wonderfulwednesday without mentioning food now would it?! On Sunday, G and I went to The Red Lion in Welwyn for our monthly dinner date. As it was a Sunday, I opted for a Sunday roast (chicken, of course). Oh my goodness. It was amazing. The chicken was on the bone, which I don't really like because, well it's effort isn't it? Trying to dodge all the bones to find the best bits. However, I didn't really mind because it tasted delightful. The potatoes were crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, the yorkshire pudding soaked up the gravy perfectly and the carrots, UH don't even get me started on the carrots. SCRUMPTIOUS. 

An Evening Outing

Yesterday after work, myself and G hopped on the train to London to do a spot of suit jacket shopping in Oxford Circus. Once the suit jacket had been found, G took me to Five Guys (he knows how to spoil a girl)...(no seriously, £30 for a posh burger and fries #spoiltrotten). Anyho, even though we were only in London for a few hours, it was nice to do something that didn't involve binge watching Homeland in bed. Oxford Circus looked sooo lovely at night and mixed with the cool air, it really did feel Christmassy! Too soon?

Getting Organised 

*Warning the C bomb will be dropped in this next paragraph and no it's not the rude one*

At the weekend, I took myself on a little outing to St Albans. It is one of my favourite places to have a mooch and whilst I was there, I picked out a few *boom* Christmas present ideas for my nearest and dearest. I feel SO organised this year and have started the big list of what I'm getting everyone. Technically, I'm allowed to start planning for Christmas because I've sorted out my Halloween outfit already...or at least that's what I'm telling myself. 

That's all for this week! How has your week been? Don't forget to share your #wonderfulwednesday moments with myself and the rest of the gang* on Twitter

SallyMichelleKateJoHelenCatSamLaura and Kerri.

Wonderful Wednesday #4

Happy Wednesday to you all! I hope you are well and are adjusting to the colder weather!

I have settled in very nicely to the new season, donning my pyjamas as quickly as possible when I come home from work, curling up in bed or on the sofa and indulging in a chocolate treat or two (okay twenty).

The past week has been a bit of a mixture - good, bad, sad and exciting - but in a bid to try and make myself feel a little better, I'm rounding up all the things that have been making my heart flutter, my lips curve and my eyes sparkle...

wonderful-wednesday-blog


Bubble Baths

On my way home last week, I stopped off at Sainsburys to get some new deodorant (oh the excitement) and amid the overpriced bottles of freshness, I spotted some bath soak on offer. I'd never seen nor heard of the brand before but the packaging was cute and it mentioned sea minerals so I popped a bottle in my basket!

That night, instead of jumping straight into bed, I had a bubble bath and read my book. It was sehr relaxing and I loved every minute of it. I think I'm going to attempt to have a bubble bath once a week. My shoulders, neck and throat have felt so tense and swollen lately, I have a feeling it's stress/worry/what am I doing with my life related so I'm hoping a bubble bath will help relax my muscles and relieve the tension.


30% off at Dorothy Perkins

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to own a fluffy gilet but could never find one I liked. Whilst in town on Saturday, I popped in to Dorothy Perkins after spotting their 30% off sign in the window. I picked up a few tops and was heading to the changing rooms when I spotted this fluffy little number hanging in the petite section. After snapping a pic in the changing rooms and consulting the girls via whatsapp, I decided that I just had to get it! Thank you Dotty P's for your wonderful discount.


Reading

On Monday evening I finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I have all of the HP books and am making it my mission to finish them before New Year (I'm one of those terrible people who has only seen the films). I love getting lost in the magical wizarding world!

Toad in the Hole

Ahhhhhhhhhhh my favourite dish of all time. Big fat sausages nestled in a giant yorkshire, accompanied by parsnips, carrots, sweetcorn and a large helping of gravy. Please G, can I have some more?

Paying off our NYC trip

Okay, so it's not *quite* payed off but I have put money towards the trip this month! It's a massive achievement for me because well, you know how some people have money and some people don't? Yeah, I don't have a lot and always feel bad because G pays for everything. However, I am paying for my part of the trip and it feels so good to be able to contribute.

That's all for this week folks! How has your week been? Don't forget to share your #wonderfulwednesday moments with myself and the rest of the gang* on Twitter

SallyMichelleKateJoHelenCatSamLaura and Kerri.

Wonderful Wednesday #3

I'm bringing you this Wonderful Wednesday from the comfort of my warm and cosy bed. G is next to me and we're having a little jam session. He bought a new phone this week and has free Deezer for three months, I'm enjoying his little playlist - well some of it, half of the songs I have never even heard of!

Anyway, shall we get down to it?

wonderful-wednesday-blog

Mutual Feelings

I had a little bit of an emotional evening on Saturday. Loneliness is not something people of my age should experience but unfortunately, we do. Well at least I do. I am guilty of not making enough effort with the friends I do have and I don't put myself in situations where I could potentially make new friends either (paranoia and lack of confidence really isn't a great friend magnet).

However, after finally arranging a breakfast date with one of my best pals Christine, I discovered that she too felt kinda the same way. It's always nice to feel like you're not the only one having certain thoughts or experiencing certain things.

This didn't give me those warm, fuzzy feelings but I did feel a little relieved, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

The Girl Gang

More specifically, the Girl Gang chat on Monday. Jemma hosted a rather brilliant chat about body confidence. It was so lovely to see people complimenting themselves and others. Confidence is such a big issue amongst many men and women, we need to learn to love what we have and compliment ourselves more often. 

The Perfect Blouse

Oh Florence and Fred, you really are just hitting every single clothing spot right now aren't you? As if the grey and rose gold striped shirt wasn't enough, you had to force my hand on your clothing rail again. On Sunday, I was doing my usual manic dash around Tesco, trying to pick up some bits for my lunch, when I spotted the mother of all blouses. Without even hesitating, I flicked the hangers to find my size and shoved it in my trolley. I know you want to see how pretty it is and you can do so here. Uhhhh, those florals.

Closet Cleaning

I have been putting off tidying my closet for a very long time. I don't have a door on it so it's not like I can just hide the mess. It's there when I choose an outfit, when I turn over to fall asleep. There's just no escaping the mess! 

On Saturday, I thought it was about time I tackled it. I put on some tunes, made myself comfy on my bedroom floor and just took everything out. Pillows that were no longer in use, a facial sauna that has only been taken out of the box once, clothes that, as hard as I may convince myself otherwise, will never be worn again. There are still a LOT of things in the closet but those things are now all neatly arranged. Ahhhh, it really is true what they say - tidy home, tidy mind. 

P.S. I'm selling a few of my clothes on Depop. A lot of them have only been worn once, I'd love it if you could give them a new home! 

That's all for this week! How has your week been? Don't forget to share your lovely #wonderfulwednesday moments with myself and the rest of the gang* on Twitter

In 100 Words | The Auburn Lock

Last Christmas, my Nan bought me an online creative writing course. I've always loved creative writing and English was one of my favourite subjects at school (until A Level Literature completely ruined me). 

One of my goals in life is to write a novel. A proper novel, front to back, beginning, middle and end - the real deal. However, I've always struggled when it comes to finishing a story and tend to waffle on throughout the middle of the plot, never reaching a conclusion. 

So, I'm setting myself a little challenge alongside my course. Once a month, I am going to write a piece of fiction and post it here on Blooming El. I've set myself a limit of 100 words and although it might not seem a lot, it puts pressure on me to find the right words and *hopefully* lowers my chances of waffling. 

These short pieces of fiction will allow my creative mindset to flourish, improve my writing ability and extend my vocabulary too. 

Without further ado, I present to you my first miniature piece of fiction... 

lifestyle-blog-fiction

The Auburn Lock 

As the wheels of Joanne’s car embraced the tarmac below, a loose strand of hair fell from her shoulders, wrapping itself around her forearm. She flicked the strand to the passengers side, noticing how it danced with the wind that crept in through the open window. 

As she turned her eyes to the road, her mind wandered past the emerald trees and stumbled upon the events of the last twenty four hours. The auburn lock danced across her face and pirouetted out of the window, snapping Joanne back to reality. Just like the strand of hair, Joanne was finally free. 

Now don't be shy, tell me what you thought, what you really really thought! The best part of posting my fiction on here is that I can receive feedback - good or bad, what I can improve on, what words may have sounded better. If you want to share your thoughts, comment below or tweet me (@eleanoraustin). I don't mind criticism, so I'd be very grateful! 

Fancy taking part in the challenge? Share your works of fiction on Twitter and use the hashtag #in100words. I'd love to see them! 

Wonderful Wednesday #2

Happy hump day all! Another week has flown by and it's time for my second installment of wonderfulness! 


The Moon

We've had a lot of full moons recently and oh my, aren't they just beautiful? I went to pick G up from work the other night and I was greeted at the end of my road by a glorious, glowing moon. It was such a pretty sight but unfortunately, as I was driving I couldn't capture it but at least it's safe in my little old memory bank! 

Crackerbreads

I always plan my lunches out week by week. Unfortunately, when you're on a budget you can't allow yourself to have spontaneous lunch trips to the local Costa and have to settle for packed lunches. My chicken rolls and packet of Quavers were just not tickling my taste buds, so when I did my weekly shop, I tried to look for something different. I picked up some Crackerbreads, some tuna and a cucumber. What a marvellous combination! Not only was it scrummy but I had fun putting them together on my lunch break! 

Piling on the pounds!

For those of you who have been reading my online words for a while, you may be aware my Nan has been very ill. My dear Nanny Shelagh has lost quite a lot of weight, due to operations and the aftermath of those ops, and has been finding it difficult to build up her strength. However, this week I received a lovely little text that went something like this...

I'VE PUT ON 1.7KG'S !!! WAHOOOOO!! xxx

It's been tough, on both her and our family, but I'm very proud of her for finally putting on some weight, I just hope she continues to pile on the pounds because it'll make her stronger and hopefully make her feel that little bit better. Donuts and chocolate fudge cake all round!

Future planning

I've been struggling to find my place in this world lately. I'm unsure of what I want to do with my life and it's really getting me down. Me and G have always said - well I've said, I think he just goes along with whatever I want to do - that we didn't want to live in Hertfordshire for the rest of our lives but I had assumed this move would take place in about five years time. 

However, after realising that life is too short, nobody really knows what they're doing and we should just do what the heck we want to do, I came up with the idea of saving for a year and then just renting a place somewhere else in the UK for a bit. We can both find new jobs, set up a little humble abode and just experience a new environment. York is on the top of my destinations list, whereas I think G quite fancies Edinburgh, he completely fell in love with it when we visited in June but who says we can't do both?! There aren't many opportunities in our little town and I think the change of scenery will be good for the both of us, plus we love a little adventure! 

That's all for this week! I think my Wonderful Wednesday's are going to be short but sweet. How has your week been? Don't forget to share your lovely #wonderfulwednesday moments with myself and the rest of the gang* on Twitter

Wonderful Wednesday #1

Ever since I first laid eyes on Sally's blog and read one of her #wonderfulwednesday posts, I knew she was on to something. Celebrating the small things and being grateful is something I am very fond of. Finding the good, the lovely, the wonderful in everyday life is an activity that everyone should take part in! 

Recently, a few other bloggers have teamed up with Sally and are documenting the lovely things that have been happening in their lives through a Wonderful Wednesday post, and I thought it was about time I joined in! 

Here are a few things that have been making my week extra lovely!

Blooming El Lifestyle Blog

My Own Bed

For those of you who follow me on Instagram and Twitter, you would have seen that last week I was in Fuerteventura. Now whilst being on holiday is absolutely fabulous, there is no better feeling than returning home after a long flight and sliding in to your own bed. The sheets welcoming you back in to their soft, comforting arms. The pillows embracing your weary head as you stretch out to find the perfect position. Ah, isn't that just the best feeling?

Returning to New York City

Once you return from a holiday, it's only natural you start thinking about the next one. Right? Fuerteventura was supposed to be mine and G's last holiday as we are saving for a flat. However, life is too short and when your Mum and her partner say YES to a trip to the big apple, you have to go. I went to NYC on a school trip when I was 18 but I'm excited to return and have free reign on what we can do, where we can eat and where we can sleep! 

Kings of Leon

A few years ago, my heart broke when I heard KOL were splitting up. Well, at least I thought they were. Maybe they did...who knows? All that matters is that they have returned and my little heart won't stop fluttering! I absolutely adore Kings of Leon, they are one of my favourite bands and seeing them at Hyde Park a few years ago will remain as one of the best moments of my life. I've already had a listen to their new song Waste a Moment and I am loving it. I cannot wait for them to release their new album, it'll be the first thing I buy on payday. Eeek!

Making Goals

When I returned from my holibobs, I decided I needed to make a list of goals, for two reasons: 1. I love making lists. 2. Setting goals gives me something to work towards and makes me feel like I'm doing something productive with my little life, for once. Last year, I wrote a list of goals and tucked them away in a drawer. A few months later I found the list and was so surprised at how much I had achieved! This time round, the list includes things like: pay off my credit card, pay off my NYC trip, start to save for mine and G's little humble abode, sign up to a few leisure courses at one of my local college's. Although it may take time to achieve each goal, it will be a great feeling when I finally get to draw that little tick!

What has been making your week extra wonderful? Do you take the time to celebrate the little things in life? Don't forget to share your #wonderfulwednesday moments on Twitter with myself and the rest of the gang - Sally, MichelleKateJo, Helen, Cat, Sam, and Kerri

My First James Villas Experience

Myself and G love to explore a city or two. However, we thought it was time we had a holiday in the sun. No subway stations, no tour guides, just sun, sea, and sand! After browsing many holiday sites, we decided to have a look at James Villas. The idea of having our own pool and own space to cook really appealed to us.

I thought I'd share with you my thoughts on my first James Villas experience!

Villa Lara Corralejo James Villas

Booking 

The James Villas website is really easy to browse. We chose to filter our search by choosing a villa where a car wasn't essential. There's something about driving on the wrong side of the road that makes my skin crawl! We also filtered our search by private pool and location.

Once we had settled on Villa Lara in Corralejo, we phoned James Villas to confirm our dates and they booked it all for us. They did ask for our flight number but as we chose to book the villa before our flights, we gave them the dates we were flying out and who we were flying with instead. We also arranged for a James Villas rep to visit us on the second day of our holiday.

We received our booking confirmation by email and a few weeks before we were due to travel, we were sent an information pack via email too. This held all the details for getting to the villa, collecting the key, and what to do at the end of our holiday.


Lanzarote Canary Islands

Arrival 

Each villa may differ from one another. However, with Villa Lara it was really easy to get the key. We used the code which had been sent in our information pack and opened the security box to get it.

In the villa, there was a James Villas folder with information regarding the local area, the villa itself, and useful telephone numbers. The folder came in very handy when trying to work the dishwasher! We also had a look in the cupboards and found some James Villas board games, perfect for families with children who get bored easily!

On our second day, we had a visit from Claire, our James Villas rep. Claire spent around 10-15 minutes with us, talking us through the local area, activities, restaurants, and the options for the last day. Claire reassured us that herself and another James Villas rep were available 24/7 if we ever needed anything during our stay.

James Villas Corralejo


Villa Lara

Villa Lara sleeps six people so it was a little bit big for just the two of us. The villa definitely needs a thorough clean and a few touch ups here and there. However, it's in a great location for exploring Corralejo - the back gate opens right on to the beach!

The pool is a decent size and it was so nice to have it all to our ourselves! It wasn't heated but the sun helped warm the water a little in the afternoon. The kitchen is a little on the small side but if you were planning on eating out every evening then it wouldn't be a problem.

Would I stay again? Probably not, we're not big on returning to the same place, unless it's super special! (New York in May, woo!)

Thomas Cook Flights


Check Out

On our last day, we had to check out at 10am to give the cleaners enough time to prepare the villa for the next guest. However, as we had a late flight, Claire had recommended that we visit the Atlantis Fuerteventura Resort and use their free luggage facilities.

The resort was only a short walk from our villa and you could use their pool or relax on a sun lounger free of charge. The resort definitely made our trip home a lot easier, I'm very grateful that this was arranged for us.

I'd definitely recommend checking out James Villas for your next holiday. There are plenty of options available, from Orlando to the Canary Islands, 4 people or 10 - whatever holiday you're planning next, there is bound to be a villa that suits your needs.

Have you ever used James Villas? What was your experience like? Comment below or tweet me @eleanoraustin

Channel 4's Naked Attraction | The Nitpicky Dating Show

When I first saw the advert for Naked Attraction and heard the very familiar voice of Anna Richardson blast through my tv, I was excited. I'm a big fan of Anna and the previous television shows she has hosted - Supersize Vs. Superskinny and The Sex Education Show - so I couldn't wait to see what Naked Attraction had to offer. 

Even though there was a little clue in the title, I had assumed that the programme would be a documentary style account of what people find attractive. Whether that be intelligence, a certain career type, a hobby or a quirk in their appearance. I thought we may see Anna on the streets of London stopping commuters and shoppers for a quick chat. Then maybe it would cut to someone in a lab coat who would give a more scientific perspective on the way our brains work and why we're attracted to certain things.

naked attraction on blooming el blog

I was a little surprised when I sat down to watch the first episode and was greeted with an array of completely naked males and females, proudly displaying their genitalia as if they were works of art in the Tate Modern.

Curious to find out what Naked Attraction was really about, I continued to watch the first episode. Whilst I found it a little entertaining, a part of me felt like they had got it all wrong. The participants were choosing their date body part by body part and if they didn't like something, they would 'get rid' of them.

I gave the second episode a go but felt disheartened when a male 'rejected' a potential partner because of the shape of her toe. Yes that's right, her TOE.

The nitpicky nature of the show is what frustrates me. You wouldn't go on a first date, ask to see their belly button and then leave because it was an outty and you prefer an inny. So why is Naked Attraction acting like this kind of behaviour is okay? 

As a woman who has untoned arms, large saggy boobs and a stomach which could be compared to an off road rally track - I like to think I can still be classed as an attractive individual. Attractive because of my ideas, my intelligence, my humour, my smile, or my dimples. It made me wonder - what if I were stood in one of those brightly coloured pods, would I last till the end? Or would the shape of my toe put somebody off dating me?

In a society where there is so much pressure to look good, is Naked Attraction just adding fuel to the fire?

Have you been watching Naked Attraction? What are your thoughts on the programme? Do you think physical appearance is important? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Comment below or tweet me @eleanoraustin.

The Importance of Taking Time Out

Over the past year or so, I’ve begun to understand the importance of taking time out. Taking a step back from your situation, allowing yourself room to breathe, reflect and figure out your next move is an effective way of climbing out of a negative rut. 

I 'quit' blogging at the beginning of this year. I found myself in a negative rut with my blog and I didn't understand why. I lacked creativity, I lacked confidence, and I felt so under pressure to publish good content every week. 

In order to deal with these negative feelings, I took my blog offline and I made a promise to myself that I would focus more on reading, finding a new hobby or enrolling on a leisure course. 

uk-lifestyle-blog-blooming-el

I did read more and I started my online creative writing course. However, something was missing.

They say you don't know what you've got till it's gone and it's very true. In order for me to realise how much I enjoyed blogging, I had to step away from it and allow myself to miss it. Boy, did I miss it. I missed documenting my thoughts, my adventures and general life tales. I missed having a creative outlet, a hobby that I enjoyed. 

It's now August and I have just re-launched Blooming El. Instead this time, I'm not putting any pressure on myself. For me, blogging is a hobby - just like creative writing and reading. It's a way for me to document my thoughts and adventures, however big or small they may be. 

I hope you'll join me on this renewed venture, it's going to be blooming lovely.