Stories of 2019 #55: 23rd Bucket List

The age of 22 has gone by in the flash. It only seems like yesterday that I was celebrating being 22?! And now within two months I will be 23. This year has been an age of change alongside a constant ‘what am I doing with my life’ thought running through my head. You are in a middle ground of still being very young and trying to be grown up (if possible)…

But a more fun twist on the blog today, I am going to pick 22 things I have achieved since turning 22 and going to set myself a challenge of completing 23 things before the 4th June 2019.

The age of 22

1 – Completed my Master’s degree (woop woop)

2 – Survived living in a flat infested with mould and damp (although this could have health implications later in life lol)

3 – Travelled to the other side of the world solo (ridin’ solo)

4 – Scuba dived in the Great Barrier Reef (and saw a huge turtle, which was incredible)

5 – Jumped out of a plane (I mean, it does not get better than that for a highlight really)

6 – Undertook work experience at High Life magazine (British Airways) and went to some cool PR events in London, pretending I was a true VIP

7 – Ate tiramisu and drunk Aperol in Italy

8 – Became a fully-fledge barmaid (I can even change barrels now)

9 – Learnt to surf

10 – Moved back home and spent some time with my mum and dad (still here and I reckon they do not want me to leave)

11 – Learnt to be happy on my own

12 – Read so so so many books!

13 – Flew to Florida with Jess for a press trip and it was the most amazing experience with some #influencers

14 – Became a plant-based hippy

15 – Applied for full time jobs, as in actual careers and had interviews (scary). I know, who knew I was at that stage… No one wants me yet but still

16 – Had a drink in the Dome in Edinburgh (a place I have wanted to go since my first visit in 2016)

17 – Visited family in Perth (something I never thought I would really do)

18 – Found oatly barista milk (may seem a silly one to some but this was a great moment for my 22nd year and oatly will be with me forever lol)

19 – Drove! (I am not a very confident driver and prefer to use my legs but on Fraser Island in Australia, I was designated driver and everyone made it out alive. I was told to speed up as I was going too slow but I am all about safety in the driving department)

20 – Decorated my room (I even built my own IKEA furniture. If that is not an achievement, I do not know what is to be honest with you)

21 – Had articles published in national publications (find them here…)

22 – Met so so so many people from the UK and around the world. From on a hostel bus meeting Tom, on a bar crawl and meeting Rosa to my regular customers at the pub, I have met an untold amounts of interesting, lovely people!

My 23 before 23…

1 – Vlog again (I rewatched an old video and I miss doing it! lol at me watching myself)

2 – See the Dior exhibition at the V&A (one failed attempt, second time lucky hopefully)

3 – Drink sherry and flamenco dance in Seville (this is slightly cheating because I know I am 100% going here) DONE AND DONE 14.04.2019-18.04.2019

4 – Bake more cakes and bread (for maybe exciting projects up ahead)

5 – Try to meditate daily (even if it is only for 2-3 minutes a day)

6 – Practise yoga again (when I was in Nottingham, I went to hot yoga at least 3 times a week and loved it. With no hot yoga or regular yoga classes within walking distance to me, I am going to try and practise it at home)

7 – Go to the new Chia cafe in hitchin (as one of my favourite spots in Hertfordshire, they have now expanded and I need to get myself to their new digs) DONE 12.04.2019

8 – Make seitan (vegan alternative)

9 – Complete a 48 hours offline challenge (no phone or laptop)

10 – Drink champagne at the Shard (very posh, I know)

11 – Plan and book 2019 backpacker trip? (I want to do everything and want to go everywhere and I think I want to do it solo? However, everything is up in the air at the moment and I feel like I am on the pause button…)

12 – Make a smoothie bowl for breakfast (channeling my inner Zen Ven)

13 – Try a charcoal latte (I don’t know why but I am very drawn to them right now) DONE 12.04.2019

14 – Go on a gondola in Venice (cheating again and on my last day of being 22, but how amazing. I am very much looking forward to that)

15 – Attempt to make my own oat milk…

16 – Buy a pair of Veja trainers or Novesta (they look so comfy)

17 – Apply for a secret competition (I will only say if we get it. Top secret stuff)

18 – Have a facial (I am big on skincare and face creams but I have never had a facial? Luckily, I am going on a spa break in May so hopefully, I will tick this one off)

19 – Get out of my overdraft (easy said than done when I am off to Seville next week)

20 – Host dinner party (I did one at Christmas and it went very well. I will return for the summer edition)

21 – Finish Tina Brown’s book (I have been reading this monster of a book for over a year now and it is about time I finished it)

22 – Set sail on a cruise with the simple 5

23 – Celebrate my 23rd birthday in style in Croatia!!!

Hopefully I can add some cool pictures to these ones below.

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Stories of 2019 #46: International Women’s Day

International women’s day is upon us! A day to celebrate the amazing women which paved the way to a better future for us, the women working tirelessly to make change, the women who you meet for coffee, the women who are your mum’s and all the other trailblazing women there are in this world today.

There really are some truly inspiring women today and I think it is so amazing also, that you can follow them on social media. Which more often than not leads me down the road of becoming a complete fan girl, scrolling down until I am back in 2010 or something… Admit it we have all been there!

To celebrate such a day, I thought I would tell you my ultimate female inspirations.

Serena Guen

She started one of my favourite magazines at the age of 22, whilst still undertaking her third year of university in Paris. Now, her innovative and beautifully crafted magazine is printed in 35 different countries alongside their ever-expanding website bursting with content. To take such a big step, where you have had to learn everything about the magazine industry, is truly inspiring and something, as a magazine journalist, would love to do. She had a passion, found a niche and went for it! Being 22 myself now, I am blown away buy her guts to just go for it. Taking inspiration from that, let alone all the other achievements Suitcase magazine has achieved.

Venetia Falconer

If you speak to me often, you will know I speak about Venetia a lot. She is my go-to podcast (Talking Tastebuds), YouTube channel and Instagram for all things sustainable, plant-based and food related. Her views on sustainability and the clothing industry have made me question my purchasing habits, which I never thought would happen, and made me think twice about the things I am consuming. Not only this but she is super cool and so creative with her food. I mean, just look at that bowl of goodness below…

Ella Mills

Sorry, another plant-based inspired pick but Ella Mills and her husband Matt, of Deliciously Ella have done so so well in building their brand and changing the way people see plant-based or vegan food. I recently bought their cookbook, which contains their whole business story, and it was really inspiring to see how they got started to where they are now. They simply began in a tiny kitchen serving their dishes through delivery apps to having their own deli in the center of London, a range of frozen meals and protein balls and two cook books, which is growing into three. I am also a big fan of their podcast where they discuss all issues surround health and well being, including lessons in happiness, diet myths unpicked and marathon training 101.

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Chocolate chip pancakes with chocolate sauce and raspberries. Happy pancake day 🥞 To make these… and don’t forget we’re making pancakes all day at the deli too! For the pancakes 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of chia seeds, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 400ml almond or oat milk, 200g plain white self-raising flour (we use a gf one), 150g Deliciously Ella Bircher Muesli (or you can use porridge oats), 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted – plus more for frying), handful of chocolate chips, pinch of sea salt. For the chocolate sauce: 280ml coconut milk (from a carton, not a tin), 4 tablespoons cacao powder, 70g coconut sugar, 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder dissolved in 2 teaspoons warm water (this thickens the sauce but you can skip and just have less milk), pinch of salt salt To make the sauce, simply heat the ingredients in a pan over a medium heat for 8–10 minutes, whisking until it turns into a smooth, creamy sauce. Then set to one side while you make the pancakes. To make the pancakes: Stir all the ingredients together to form a smooth, thick batter. Warm a tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat. Once the pan is hot and the oil has melted, spoon in a large tablespoon of pancake batter into the pan. Cook on one side for 3-4 minutes until it’s golden, before turning and cooking the other side for 2-3 minutes until cooked through. Remove and repeat until all of the batter is finished 🙏🏼

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Fearne Cotton

Selfies at five in the morning, stories of her doing yoga at sunrise and images with wonky pears – this is why I love Fearne. She tells it how it is. She uses Instagram how it is meant to be used, uploading relatable and unstaged images, creating the instant effect. Her captions also have a big impact, speaking a lot about her mental health and the daily life of Fearne Cotton. Her unfiltered way she uses social media I think is inspirational within itself. (Also, another one with a great podcast… Happy Place)

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Say what

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Bryony Gordon

I did not know much about Bryony, until I was listening to a podcast where she was a guest and was speaking about her experience with mental health and running (she ran a marathon in her undies – amazing). Interested by what she was saying, that night I started reading her book, Eat, Drink, Run. I think I finished it within a few days, I was so engrossed. She has suffered so much with her mental health and the way she has gained so much confidence through running is so motivating. Her story really brings to light how much people can be affected by mental health. Not only has she wrote books sharing her experiences but she has raised money for charity, created a meet-up with people sharing the same mental health experience which has gone world-wide and she completely is herself on social media which I think is amazing. I love her – simply put. Also, her and her husband make me laugh in the book! Highly recommend reading.

Loraine and Sian Paine

Awww, I had to include my mum and sister! Wonder women in my eyes. They both work so hard, look after their homes and deal with me (lol I know can be hard) and are both so loving and kind. What I would do without them both, I do not know. But they constantly inspire me so I saved the best till last.

Which women inspire you?

Stories of 2019 #43: 2019 Travel Plans

2019 is a year of unknowns. Which is what life is – unknown. But at the moment, I wish I knew which path my life was going to take. I know everyone says you should relax and enjoy this time off but I am a person who loves to be busy, outside and having a sense of purpose really and at the moment I am still in the adjusting process. I bet when I finally start to enjoy my time without a career, I will get one! We can all guess that, can’t we?

But the one thing not unknown at the moment is where I am traveling to this year! Now, this is exciting. From camping to cruises, 2019’s travel and holidays are looking like they are set to be extremely fun. And also growing as many places are being added to my list…

Brighton

We have family friends – Justine and Glen – who live just outside the cool city of Brighton and we are fortunate enough to go down south and visit. However, I have not been since 2017! The last time I went it was a beautifully sunny day, as the pictures show. We went on the I360 and ate fish and chips on the seafront followed by an ice-cream, of course. One thing I love about Brighton is North Laine – packed full of small, quirky and independent stores and cafes – it is easy to spend your whole day mooching around the shops. We then escape the city life, to West Sussex, where our friends own a beautiful house on the front. I am so looking forward to this and revisiting one of my favorite spots.

Cruise

Also dubbed as the ‘booze cruise’ according to my sister’s boyfriend. This is our annual family holiday and with an extra special treat as we will be away for my birthday. We fly from Stanstead to Corfu, where we will board our ship, before sailing to Slovenia, Venice, Croatia, and Montenegro. All the places I have always wanted to go to! Especially Montenegro. Serenaded on a gondola to bathing in the Krka waterfalls in Spilt, I am already planning outfits and bikinis for each place. But you thought cruises were for old people? Well, you have got it all wrong. I have been on four cruises now, this years being my fifth, and they are full of things to do and an endless list of food and drinks that will keep you busy if there is nothing you fancy doing. On one cruise ship by Royal Caribbean, there was even a full-sized ice-rink, zip wire, and elevating bar?! Having not been back at sea for almost five years, I am excited to get back on board the ‘booze cruise.’

Camping

When I was younger, we were always camping. We even spent a whole two weeks in Cornwall, living in our tent (although was cut short due to the endless rain). There is nothing quite like waking up to the sounds of the birds and sitting outside with your morning cup of tea before going to the shower block to get ready. Some people do not like the idea of camping and think that it is basic but not for us Paines. We have carpet, electric and even our hairdryers. We are probably more glamping, than camping. Anyhow, nearby to our home in Stevenage we have a campsite where we are going to. I know it sounds funny to go camping literally 20 minutes down the road but it is just nice to be out in the tent, it does not matter how far or close you are.

Seville

Back with my partner in crime, we are off on another trip! After the last one being fueled by Aperol and tiramisu in Italy, we are hopping over to Spain to test the tapas and sangria. Jessamyn called me one night and asked if I wanted to go away? Obviously, my answer was yes and 20 minutes later we had picked Seville and our flights were booked. Our main reason to pick Seville was the warm temperatures in April and the fact I saw an article on Suitcase Magazine saying the streets were lined with lively bars and flamenco dancing. We are there for four days, so plenty of time to explore the city. However, we have booked during their Holy Week when there are some interesting parades going on… wish us luck!

South West Coastal Path?

Now, this is not set in stone as of yet but I have wanted to do this walk for so long. I am thinking about doing a small section for two weeks rather than the whole 600 or so miles, although I would love to do that! But maybe to ease myself into the idea of solo-trekking, a couple of weeks is enough? I am currently reading two books about people who have walking the whole path and it just sounds breathtaking! Have you ever done the South West Coastal Path or know anyone who has because I would love some advice/recommendations.

So far that is where I am off too and possibly (hopefully) a few more!

Where are you going in 2019?

Stories of adventure #42: My Valentines

The 14th Feb. The day all about love! Now, traditionally it is all about showing love to your partner, but for me, I do not have one, so I am going to tell the other three loves of my life, which are year-round, day in, day out…

Travel

I can’t express my love for travel. Being able to experience and learn from different cultures is just such an amazing feeling. I am extremely lucky to have travelled where I have been and how often I have been away. From one side of the world in USA to the other side in Australia and many places in between, I have had so many brilliant experiences. The fact that you wander aimlessly around streets you have never seen before, eating food you never thought existed and meeting people from all over the world, these are a few of the things I love about travelling.

Fitness

I know this is a bit lame to put, basically exercise as one of my life’s love but I can’t genuinely imagine my day to day life without it (lol). I like to see what my body can do, whether that is seeing how much weight I can lift at the gym or seeing what weird stretches I can get into at yoga or whether I can hike to the top of that peak, I am there, loving it. I am not the type of person to spend hours at the gym, I only go for an hour a day but most days of the week. Not only is it good for my body (I defo have a big booty to show for it) but for my mind, it is also amazing.

Family

The simple 5 (and the dogs). I would not be anywhere without them! We are all on the count down to the ‘booze cruise’ in May 2019 for our holiday together. These simpletons do not need many words to show my love for them.

But I have so many more loves… shopping, cooking, food, drink, reading, learning, movies – the list is endless.

What do you love?

Stories of 2019 #2: Everyday Challenges

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right.” – Anonymous

New Years Eve 2018 // Disco pants, Karaoke and 80’s songs

When I was at work, Saturday just gone, I was speaking to a man sat at the bar about our New Years resolutions. His, he told me, was to do something new every single day of the year. I started thinking about this and thought how hard this resolution may be to do.

But when I was on my train home from Manchester yesterday, I started thinking actually how amazing this resolution could be (if you were to stick to it). First off, I was thinking of only the big things, but what about the smaller changes that you can make everyday. For example, taking the time to make a delicious breakfast instead of simply pouring a bowl of cereal, walk to work instead of drive or go to a class you have never done.

On the first day of the year in 2019, I did karaoke. That was my something new! And, do you know what, I bloody loved it. Thinking back to it, I let out a little smile and think about that new thing I did. I know this is not a huge thing, I mean my mum does karaoke whenever she has the opportunity. But for me, it was a big thing, normally I would never do anything like that!

So, everyday you may only have those smaller new experiences but when the opportunity arises and you have the offer to do something amazing, exciting and way out of your comfort zone, just imagine how you will feel after!

Today, my change, only small, was to get up an earlier after listening to a podcast called the Power Hour. So, here I am, 7am and writing this blog post. Yes, maybe with my eyes very heavy but I did something new and I am happy.

Stories of 2019 #1: Happy New Year!

“The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.” – Melody Beattie.

Masters Graduation // 13th December 2018

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019. I hope you are all waking up with clear heads after celebrating your way into the New Year with friends, family and of course, a little tipple. I am waking up up north in Manchester (with most probably a headache as I get way too excited when I am out which results in mixed drink choices and I am not one of those sensible people who have one drink and one glass of water) with my friend Jess after dancing our socks off in the Northern Quarter. If I am honest, after all the Christmas and New Year festivities I am looking forward to 1, a drier January and 2, having a bit of a routine back with less food and drink!

But alongside a new fresh year, comes the tradition of the New Years resolution. 2018 was full of change for myself, some big and some small, but I am now officially an ‘adult’… well, some would say anyway, I am not sure I agree. I am no longer a university student (very VERY sad news) and I have moved back home to Stevenage and have the joyous task of finding myself a job in 2019 or just figuring out what I want to do with my year ahead.

As most people, I also start the year with a list of New Year resolutions and only keep to one or two and loosing sight of the other 50 after a months. Ok, that is ambitions, a few weeks ha ha. Has anyone actually ever stuck to a New Years resolution? If you have, hats off to you, you amazing human being! Any tips do not be afraid to leave them below in a comment. Learning from previous years, I plan to set two!

So, here are my 2019 goals:

Find a new hobby // I am really into fitness and going to the gym, so my new hobby I would like to be physical. The gym I currently go to also have a boxing gym and I would really like to try my hand at this after having a few goes on some pads (I think that is what they are called). Also in addition to boxing, hiking is on my list but I would not have as much access to this hobby. Watch this space, I could be either the next female Evander Holyfield or Bear Grylls!

Worry less about life // I am a constant worrier. Considering I am quite outgoing and have even been travelling on my own, I worry over the smallest of things. Especially now I am home from travelling and from university, as I have a sense of feeling lost in this big world. I do not know what job I want or whether I want to save up to go away again or what else is running through my head! I feel like I should be out working, starting a career like all my friends and with people constantly asking me, “have you got a job yet?” I find myself feeling guilty when I say no. But like my wise mother has said to me, there is no rush to get a job as once you are in a full time job the next time you will get this time off is when you are retired. She also adds the only people you need to worry about, about making you get a job is her and my dad and they are not bothered as long as I am happy. I currently have two little part time jobs I am enjoying so for the time being I am trying to worry less about the future! I think I will struggle with this one the most.

With these set for 2019, who knows where I will end up a year from now writing my 2020 resolutions. Wouldn’t life be boring if we knew where it was going to take us.

What are your 2018 resolutions? Comment below and let me know! We can support each other.