A Quick Note

Hey Guys,

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all. Due to my soul destroying level of aloneness, I will not be celebrating with the traditional ‘having a partner’ way we all know and love. Instead I am off on my holidays to Bali, Indonesia. As a result of this I won’t be posting until March, when I’m home, and will hopefully have some interesting things to share!

See you all then,

J xxx

We Are Only Responsible For Ourselves

responsibility

Ok, I love this picture and everything it stands for.

Too often are we tricked into thinking we are responsible for the actions or happiness of others, when in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure we have a responsibility to be aware of how our own actions will effect other people, but this is different from being responsible for their happiness entirely.

Family, friends and partners are the three most common sites of misplaced responsibility. Caring about the people you love and wanting to help them achieve what they are setting out to is great. I would encourage it, but you can’t make it personal if they don’t do well or are unhappy. That has nothing to do with you, if you make it your responsibility it will exhaust you. Not only is it impossible to control how other people feel but you will only end up hurting yourself in the process, especially when you realise that you can’t help everyone, you will feel as though you have failed.

We often modify our behaviour in relationships to try and please our partners, thinly veiled by thinking we are making a compromise. Compromising is essential in a relationship, don’t get me wrong, but you have to keep an eye on how much you are giving up in comparison to your partner, If the balance is unequal, you may be doing too much just to please them. This is unhealthy, you can’t change yourself to make someone else happy. Even if you do, a hard lesson to learn is that it will never be enough, if they want to change one thing about you it will snowball until you don’t really recognise yourself. Don’t sacrifice your own happiness because you are trying to please someone else.

What we need to focus on is ourselves. As the picture states, our actions, words, efforts, behaviour, mistakes, ideas and consequences of the above are the things that matter. If we all focused on these aspects I would wager not only would we be happier but collectively we would be doing better. Stripping away your preoccupation with other people’s feelings and actions, and putting all your effort into your own makes it easier to do better. A weight will be lifted off your shoulders and sort of free’s up space and time to do things you have been putting off. Take the time to focus on your body, focus on your mind, focus on how to help causes you care about. suddenly this all seems easy, you aren’t worrying about all the other things that don’t apply to you anymore.

This is not to promote being mean or selfish in any way, but just to stop wasting your time imagining you are responsible for other people. They are their own people just as you are yours. If they followed this advice then I bet they would be happier too!

 

How the Spice Girls are still spicing up lives in 2019

If you were alive from 1990 onwards then there is a very large chance that you, at the very least, know who the Spice Girls are.

If you have only been alive for a month or have lived out the majority of your life in the jungles of Papa New Guinea then you may have missed them. Even then I wouldn’t be surprised if Spice fever had infiltrated even the most remote corners of the planet. During the 90s they were a force to be reckoned with.

As many of you may have realised, the fashion choices that encapsulate the 1990s have made a roaring comeback; if you thought tube tops and chokers were a recent style innovation then I’m sorry you had to find out this way. Ginger, Sporty, Scary and Baby announced that their reunion tour will be taking place this year (Posh is rich enough to not have to do it), which has prompted a fresh wave of Spice Girl enthusiasm to grip the nation, myself included. Upon this information, I have been voluntarily submerged in Spice Girls documentaries and constant one man listening parties of their smash debut album, Spice.

During this wonderful time, I have been overcome with a wave of déjà vu, and not just because I’m reliving the heart break of finding out it was Ginger who split up the group… No, it struck me that every iconic look sported by the 5 piece has miraculously regained relevance at the same time. Fate you work in mysterious ways.

Below is a list of classic Spice Girls fashion which are giving us everything in 2019.

Ginger 

spicee

Okay, as previously mentioned, my favourite member of the 5 headed pop monster is Ginger. This is essentially because I too, am ginger and aside from the Little Mermaid there were very few redheaded icons when I was growing up, so when you found one you clung to them. Ginger is known for a few style choices; that Union Jack dress for example but don’t worry I’m not about to start campaigning for flag chic anytime soon.

Geri was admittedly the shortest member of the group and thus always relied on a platform shoe to get her past Vicky B’s hips. Not only are platform shoes huge again (seriously no pun intended) but they are so in nearly every variety shoes can come in. Heels, Flats, Trainers, Sandals, you name it, we are probably elevating it a couple of inches at the minute. As if this wasn’t enough the actual brand shoe that the copper goddess used to don, Buffalo, are being stocked again in Urban Outfitters. I rest my highly stacked case.

Sporty 

spice sporty

Two words my friends; Active Wear. Its back and we have spent ridiculous amounts of money on it. In classic Spice Girls ‘less is more’ fashion, sports bras are now acceptable equivalents for T shirts and the 90s midriff is seeing some sun again. Alongside this, tracksuits are not just in fashion but kind of fashion themselves. Brands you would expect such as Nike, Adidas and Lacoste are capitalising on the trend but even big ‘fashion’ names like Yeezy, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger are getting involved. Comfort is in, and I’m loving it.

 

 

Baby

spice baby

Remember a couple of posts ago when I said Pastel hair has been popular lately, well so is pastel everything else a la Baby Spice. The ‘baby’ equivalent of nearly every colour has been splashed across the racks in shops recently and its prompting major nostalgia. The only way we could add to the Baby Spice look would be to make things shiny/iridescent too but come one that would just be too mu…Oh wait, that’s exactly what we have been doing. Fabulous.

 

Scary

spice scary

I would argue that Scary had the most eye catching garb of the girl gang. Lots and lots of co-ords in a neon pattern or leopard print is what she could most commonly be found in. co-ords have been popular for a few years so it would be a  bit of a stretch to let her claim responsibility for that, but leopard print especially is back in a big way. Neon has also been very popular again this past year, especially in the world of hair. I have seen so many leopard print items being sold on Topshop and Urban Outfitter’s websites it is actually getting ridiculous. Even fashionista herself Victoria Beckham features more than one item of the leopard variety in her clothing line. When two (Spice Girl’s fashion choices) become one indeed, it’s like inception.

Poshspice posh

Okay, well, posh just always wore a little black dress and some strappy shoes, that’s never gone out of style for it to come back so she has just been a permanent fixture. Then again for some absurd reason she isn’t going on the tour so I’ve decided she doesn’t count.

So thus ends my list. Let me know If I have missed anything/ if there is a trend you wish would come back but just hasn’t yet. We all have one…

J

Be Kind To Yourself

self love

When I do my daily binge of social media, I am accustomed to seeing many posts which present a thinly veiled statement of what the sharer thinks about them-self. It is sad but amongst the vanity and the delusion, the prevalent emotion is insecurity. This can manifest itself in many ways; Someone you know has put on weight only posting photos from a year ago,  a feed full to the brim of body selfies coupled with long ‘deep’ captions to try and imply they are more than the pair of boobs they just posted etc…

These are very common occurrences, and believe me when I say I’m not judging anyone for it, I partake in plenty of selfies too. But there are some people who bypass these clues and just come out and say it. They post pictures or upload stories outlining what they hate about themselves, once or twice I wouldn’t really bat an eyelid, but I’m talking every day. It really makes me sad.

I am a huge believer in how we are influenced by our surroundings and the people we spend time with. For this reason I advise people to carefully consider who and what they expose themselves to. If you are in an environment that promotes happiness, healthiness and ambition you are going to be onto a winner in most cases. However, sometimes that is not enough. Some people are their own worst critic and are unbelievably harsh on themselves. I would argue that this is unhealthy. As this picture states, be careful what you say to yourself, because if it is all negative, you are going to start believing it. Think of yourself as a sponge, we absorb what is around us and hold onto it until someone wrings it out of us. Awful metaphor aside, this is the season of wringing.

In 2019 I think we should all focus on self love and self improvement. I have seen some bloggers saying that the self love movement for this year could lead us into a selfish society, but I disagree. To say that we need to focus on our own interests and happiness does not automatically inhibit us from helping other people do the same, in fact I would encourage it.

The main thing is to be kind. To yourself, to other people, to animals it doesn’t matter, just be kind. Life is too short to be mean, especially to yourself.

The Difference in a Decade: 2009-2019

2009, I think, was an underrated year. I am also aware, that not many people agree with me on this topic. The word ‘iconic’ is thrown around far too liberally nowadays, but in this case I am tempted to use it. I’m not sure why it holds such a special place in my heart, 2004 and 2007 were also great years but I think they just fall short of 2009 based on one simple fact. At the time, everything about it felt so cool but there is nothing like hindsight, and the Facebook ‘On This Day’ feature, to show you that we were of course not cool in the slightest.

Below are a list of 5 quintessential aspects which help to sum up 2009:

Flip Phones of all varieties

phone

Okay so if you were a teenager in 2009 you were probably the proud owner of a sliding/flipping/twisting mobile phone. From the sleek but virtually unusable LG Chocolate to the achingly cool (but as we have established definitely not cool) twisting Sony Ericcson, if there was a process to opening it, we went mad for it.

2009 was when this mobile design was at its all-time high before touchscreen technology came and saved us with its minimalism. The IPod Touch paved the way for the phone layout we all know and love but there is some nostalgia to be had in the mobiles of 10 years ago. And, was there really anything as satisfying as hanging up on someone and angrily flipping your phone shut?! No, there was not.

Shaved hair/bobs

rihanna hair

Victoria Beckham, Rihanna, Pink, Robyn. What did all these women flying high in 2009 have in common? Yes, the sub title gave it away; their hair. There are some years that bring with them a stand out hair style. In 2010 it was the bright red Rihanna hair that 1 in every 10 girls seemed to sport. In 2013 ombre hair was all the range. 2016 had everyone going mad for pastel shades, the list goes on, but before all of these trends 2009 brought with it the shaved side of the head and a bob. At least one person you knew was rocking this look and you even considered it at one point. The awkward growing back of one side of your hair though is enough to make you thankful you never went through with it.

Punk fashion

scene kids

Another quintessential aspect of 2009 was the style, or maybe lack of it. Were you even ready to go out of your door without a couple of bows in your hair to match your graphic T-shirt and ripped jeans meticulously held together with pins?! Punk inspired fashion had a revival but without bringing along any of the edge that it was born with. Instead we had a sort of pop/punk hybrid popularised by the bands of the time (think Hayley Williams, Pink again, Fallout Boy etc.)

‘Scene Kids’ were the local leaders of style, a bright and edgy alternative to the Emos and Goths we were used to, and with them brought another punk trend: brightly coloured, big hair. This particular look was one that I definitely fell prey to, I am still guilty of indulging in big hair, but as a red head I never bothered with the dying part.

Ed Hardy

ed hardy

Fellas, this one is for you. I think we all remember Ed Hardy T-shirts, I personally am still waiting to regain fully functioning vision after gazing one too many times at a bedazzled chest. Commonly adorned with tigers, a rose and possible 100 studs, wearing one of these masterpieces undoubtedly made you feel like one.

However, as is the case with all of these trends, I’m sure you have already deleted or untagged yourself from any evidence of partaking in the ocular offence. I don’t blame you. Admittedly my boyfriend at the time was a wearer of these monstrosities, but that isn’t the point.

Electronically enhanced music

Last but certainly not least on this list, 2009 was the year where autotune really became popularised. I know you remember Jason Derulo’s smash hit ‘Whatcha Say’ and you have thus since been afflicted with involuntarily singing his name in your head every time you hear it! (Yeah like that)

Rappers like Lil’ Wayne were using autotune in their songs as well as the electronic sound being a staple in the world of Pop too. Artists such as La Roux, The Black Eyed Peas and David Guetta were all employing the electronic sound to much success, helping to create a sound that can easily be pinpointed to this wonderful year.

I would also like to give a special mention to the makeup choices we made during this year, I am sure we will all be punished appropriately in the future.

In many ways, 2009 feels longer than a decade ago. The examples listed above serve to date the year pretty effectively, I can safely say that none of those trends need reviving any time soon, their current replacements feeling futuristic in comparison. But, horrendous style choices aside, it was the time that I look back on fondly. If nothing else, it makes me feel a lot cooler now than I was, but it also makes me wonder what choices I will be scoffing at in 2029.

I’m sure I won’t think I was cool in 2019 either.

Let me know if I missed anything. Do you have any favourite memories of the year?

J

 

Build your 2019

flowers

I came across this picture during one of my daily social media trawling sessions and it really made me smile. Not only is the illustration sweet but the message is surprisingly relevant and poignant.

Contrary to popular belief, the world does not owe us anything. We are not owed success, we are not owed happiness and we are definitely not owed an easy life. For the most part, how we progress in life is wholly dependant on us. And that is how it should be, it is our life after all. We basically live within a world of cause and effect; we get back what we put in.

There are so many things happening in the world which are bigger than the individuals. 2018 brought us the political situation in the U.S, the nightmare of the Brexit negotiations in the U.K and the natural disasters happening elsewhere in the world, so we should strive to take control of what we are able to and put our lives in the best positions we can.

Put your happiness first, it is so important and often treated as an after thought or a bonus when it is a necessity.

Work hard, your work is a reflection of you and thus should be approached with everything you have.

Strive to improve yourself in any way no matter how small, that’s the crux of what life is about to me; self improvement. Everyday you should go to bed a tiiiiiiny bit better off than when you woke up.

Be active, if you have been blessed with a body unaffected by ailments then pleaseeeee take advantage of it, use it, appreciate it.

All of these things are good for your health, your productivity or your state of mind and those are what we should be prioritising for ourselves in 2019.

This post feels kind of bleak and serious for a Friday but it is something I felt compelled to write this morning. I’m kind of impulsive. But even if only one person reads this and takes something away from it then that will be enough. Let’s get passionate about our lives again, take back control and don’t let our potential prosperity be over shadowed by things we have been made to feel are more important than ourselves. They’re not!

Let’s create the world we want to live in, it’s possible!

Let me know your thoughts on the picture/subject matter, I would love to discuss further.

J x

Your Resolution Remedy

Here we go, the glittering mirage of 2019 had arrived and so the rumbles of the oncoming avalanche of resolutions can be heard, if they haven’t already snowed your Facebook under. Strap in for the onslaught of ‘New Year, New Me’ and claims of 2019 being everyone you knows’ year.

Despite the above cynicism, I actually like the idea of resolutions, I think that they are good for us. What I don’t like however, is how people so easily forget about them when the weather gets better. By the time we get to September our social media feeds are once again filled with classic self-loathing memes announcing that there are 3 months left to 20whatever and you haven’t done anything.

The last time that I saw a meme like this I took notice that 47k had shared it, and that is just the one I had seen, there are countless which are essentially the same thing. Forty seven thousand people felt as though they could relate to not achieving things they wanted in the space of a year, it’s mad and sad at the same time I thought, before sharing it myself.

So, as I’ve seen January resolution posts steadily increase over the last few days, I started thinking about where people may be going wrong in their resolution making and keeping, and decided it needed to change. Thus, I am once again proving my talent at giving advice no one asked for but I think is pertinent none the less.

  1. Focus on your feelings

If you find it difficult to pick precise resolutions to work towards i.e. you aren’t sure what you want to achieve in terms of actions, then focus on how you want to feel by the end of 2019.

Ideally, this feeling would be something you don’t currently have. Our happiness is something we should all strive to keep going, but I’m talking about more specific emotions. For instance, do you want to feel more confident in your professional position? Do you want to feel as though you are challenging yourself more? Do you want to feel fulfilled creatively? Do you want to feel healthier? Ask yourself questions like these and then work backwards to see what you can do about it.

The physical actions we undertake to reach our resolutions can often be for the benefit of other people, or just so we can be seen doing something. If you prioritise your feelings when making your resolutions, you can be certain that the pay off will be all you.

  1. Tether your resolutions together

If you guys have read any of my other posts then you will be aware of my complete lack of faith in myself. Specifically in relation to sticking to things of course. Thus, I have devised an ingenious (in my opinion) strategy to force myself to fulfil my resolutions/dreams: LINK THEM TOGETHER!

Dramatic caps aside, I honestly believe in this approach. How many times have we been dead set on achieving something in January and sometimes even February, but by the time March rolls around we have become completely preoccupied with life? ‘Countless times, J’, is what you need not cry, because I know and this is okay, we are fixing it!

To fully ensure that you have your dreams in a chokehold, you need to stagger them. By this I mean that they sort of need to work like a flow chart in that the completion of one leads on to the next. For example; I have vowed that I will go away and experience Spain this year. However, this cannot be done until I have improved my Spanish, another resolution of mine. Therefore, I cannot go to Spain until I have gone to more Spanish classes effectively forcing me to be productive. It’s kind of like a resolution reward system, in any case, I did it last year, and it worked so I’m sticking with it!

Another way to achieve this step is to split your resolutions up into manageable bite size stages;

Think about running a marathon in 12 months. Terrifying, thanks for the offer but no thanks.

Now think about being able run a half marathon by July. Hrm, still scary but there’s an outside chance of success.

What about being able to run 7 miles in March? Stop wasting my time talking, I’ve got a chic and breathable outfit to buy!

  1. It’s all about quantity

I am a firm believer in hedging my bets so, in my opinion, setting one resolution per year is risky. You will notice I didn’t denounce quality in the heading of this point so please don’t think I’m condoning making any old resolution to get the numbers up. Promising to match your socks every day or something equally weird will not be blamed on me!

No, they should all be meaningful/improve your life in some way but don’t hinge all your self-worth on one behemoth when an army of dwarves can arguably have a bigger impact. (There’s a mental image!)

A larger number of resolutions leaves you some space to be creative. Just because I don’t want us being frivolous doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have fun with them. Think of things you have always wanted to do or, in contrast, things you have never considered trying and, for lack of a less Nike-y phrase, just do them!

No matter what you decide to do, just don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Resolutions are supposed to be ways to get motivated and inspired whilst we are all drunk on the promise of a better year than 2018. They aren’t supposed to make you hate yourself if they get too hard or it isn’t the right time. If something isn’t working and becoming detrimental then leave it. If you follow my advice then you probably have too many as it is!

Lastly, if absolutely everything goes wrong and you can’t stick to anything, relax, there is always next year…

Thanks for reading

J.