30 Before 30 - goals, dreams and aspirations

30 Before 30

I’m sure you’ve seen posts like this before – I know I have!
I used to roll my eyes at bucket lists, five year plans, ten year plans, and so on… I just thought that, seeing as life never really went to plan anyway, what was the point?!
But the more I’ve got into goal-setting over the past year, the more I have been thinking about where I want my life to be moving over the next few years. This has led me to reading quite a lot of blog posts that talk about a ’30 before 30′ list – simply, a list of thirty things you want to achieve or do before you hit that big 3-0. (I say ‘big’… I’m not sure that it is. But ask me again when I get there!)

I have really started to like the ideas of a 30 before 30 list, as a list of experiences, achievements and just general goals that I would like to achieve before I turn 30. For me, this has provided a good opportunity to sit down, reflect, and set goals. However, it has given me the same anxiety-inducing pressure that I have experienced before when trying to create a 5 or 10 year plan. My main inspiration for this post was a post written by the wonderful Zanna van Dijk, who as well as being the same age as me, is one of my favourite Youtubers/bloggers/fitness gurus. As I’m fast approaching 27, now seemed like a good time to take that inspiration and run with it.

So, without any further rambling, here are the thirty things I would like to do or achieve before my thirtieth birthday. Some are huge goals, some are tiny, niggling little wishes, but I would love to achieve them all…

  1. Go camping. (Me and Mr W have a tent and we’re ready to go, we just haven’t gotten round it to yet. I have been camping before, but not for many years!)
  2. Climb another mountain. (Earlier this year, we climbed Snowdon. It inspired me to keep hiking as much as possible.)
  3. Own a brand new, high quality mattress. For all that beautiful, quality sleep.
  4. Perform in a choir again. (This one should be ticked off pretty soon!)
  5. Pay off my credit card.
  6. Have a healthy savings account. (These two are both a little more serious… I haven’t been very financially secure or confident for most of my twenties, so it is important to me to enter my next decade of life with a bit more money behind me, just in case. On that note…)
  7. Buy a house!
  8. Start a family. (I’m broody as anything – but, following the last few goals, we want to be a bit more financially comfortable before we start having children.)
  9. Visit Italy.
  10. Travel solo for a long weekend. (Either on an organised retreat, or just taking myself away to read and write for a weekend in the countryside.)
  11. Write a novel. (The ultimate dream!)
  12. Go on a spa day with my Mum.
  13. Go on a cookery course.
  14. Make gnocchi from scratch.
  15. Make an entire lasagna from scratch, including the pasta.
  16. Clear all the unnecessary clutter from our house so we only own what’s needed.
  17. Study some more. (I see myself doing some more formal study at some point in the future, most likely in Education and aspects of Child Psychology.)
  18. Put more time and effort into my blog posts and accompanying photos, hopefully growing my audience more.
  19. Eat at Dans le Noir in London. (A restaurant in London I’ve been dying to visit for years!)
  20. Make some kind of income through this blog, through any channel, and any amount.
  21. Have a solid, calming, morning routine in place.
  22. Invite friends round for dinner.
  23. Invite family round for dinner.
  24. Finally finish the cross-stitch map of Westeros that I’ve been working on for five years…
  25. Pay off my car!
  26. Take my sister on holiday somewhere, just us two.
  27. Find the perfect winter coat.
  28. Run a marathon. (I’ve done a half marathon, and I’m going to do another this year. I think it’s about time I progressed on to the full marathon!)
  29. Get the two matching tattoos I want. (One with Mr W, one with my sister.)
  30. Secure some kind of extra responsibility at work.

 

There they are – my 30 before 30!

Are any of these the same as your goals? I would love to see some posts from you guys sharing your list as well.

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My Checklist For A Perfect Weekend

Having just thoroughly enjoyed the long weekend, I’ve been considering what a perfect weekend would look like to me…

I do like to have something to do at the weekend, and to be honest I usually have preparation to do for the working week ahead, but to have at least one day that is totally free for me to do what I want with is absolute bliss. When I have that time to myself, these are the things that make it a perfect relaxing weekend:

  1.  A good book

    Reading a book
    This has to be top of the list! The weekend is the time that I get most of my reading done and one of my favourite things is to spend a lazy Sunday morning in bed with a cup of coffee and my book. And on that note…

  2. A strong cup of coffee
    I am a coffee-lover and so my ideal weekend usually involves plenty of cups of the stuff! Me and Mr W love to go out for coffee, but we are trying to save a bit of money at the moment, so we are tending to opt for a cup of coffee at home. We were really lucky to be given some ground coffee by Bill’s when we went there for breakfast after our wedding, and that’s a firm favourite of mine at the moment.

  3.  A workout
    Ask the sloth of five years ago if her perfect weekend would have included a workout and she’d laugh in your face! But now I really love to go and get my sweat on to feel like I’ve used my weekend wisely. At the moment I’m loving either hitting up my local parkrun (I’d really recommend them if you haven’t tried it before!) or going to the gym for a Les Mills class early on a Saturday morning. Getting a workout in early just makes me feel productive and energised for the rest of the weekend.

  4. My cat

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    As well as being an avid reader and a coffee-lover, you should also know that I am a massive cat person! I love my cat and the weekend is when I get to curl up and spend some quality time with him. (Usually with my book and coffee too, all in one!)
    His name is Felix and we rescued him last September, at the age of 7. He was seriously overweight and very nervous, but with some love and care, we’ve now got a very loving, friendly, healthy cat who I love spending time with. Self-care = cat cuddles!

  5. Chocolate

    Yep, another food one! Honestly though, who doesn’t love chocolate? Add it to the book, coffee and cat combo up above and you’ve got a 100% perfect Sunday morning.

  6. A pub quiz

    There’s a really good pub quiz at one of our locals every Sunday evening and I’ve recently started to really enjoy going along. It’s a cheap and cheerful night out, a great conversation starter and a bit of healthy competition never hurt anyone! If you like learning new things and can get a team together, I’d really recommend seeing if there’s a good quiz near you.

  7. A nap

    Now, I know I’m not alone here – as a grown woman of 26, I can’t explain how much I love a nap on a weekend afternoon. After a long week of work, it’s all I need!

    white bed comforter
    Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com

 

So they’re my seven ingredients to make a perfect weekend. What would your ideal weekend look like? I’d love to know! Maybe we can all get some new ideas for weekend activities in the comment section?

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P.S – I now have a ‘Currently’ page if you want to know what I’m currently reading, watching and enjoying.

The Promise by Teresa Driscoll - cover art

‘The Promise’ by Teresa Driscoll – A Review

Trying something new on The Self-Care Sloth today… I am an avid reader and massive book-lover. I always have been. So it seemed silly to shy away from bookish content on this blog. Reading is definitely a self-care activity for me, so I thought it might be nice to start sharing some of the books I read on here.

the promise book review overview

This month, I discovered Prime Reading. How had I been using Amazon Prime for months without realising this feature existed? I don’t know! But I discovered it, very quickly downloaded the Kindle app to my phone and started searching for new titles to enjoy. I was so excited!
(If you’re as unaware as I was, Prime Reading is Amazon Prime’s reading feature that let’s you download and read thousands of books and magazines to your Kindle or Kindle app. You can’t access all of the Kindle library on there, but there seems to be quite a lot.)

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no affiliation to Amazon or Kindle, but I do have an affiliate code for the Book Depository. So any links in this post that direct you to the Book Depository will earn me a small commission if you decide to buy the book. It won’t cost you any extra.

The Promise

While searching through the Discover tab on my Kindle app, I kept coming across ‘The Promise’ by Teresa Driscoll. I don’t know Teresa Driscoll at all, have never read a book by her, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it looked like my kind of thing. I was right – definitely my kind of thing!

What is ‘The Promise’ About?

‘The Promise’ is marketed as a psychological thriller, which is definitely a favourite genre of mine. I would definitely agree with that description, there are a lot of psychological twists and turns to keep you turning the page.

It was their darkest secret. Three schoolgirls made a promise – to take the horrible truth of what they did to the grave.

The book mostly follows a character called Beth who, although now married with two children, spends a lot of time thinking about what happened in her past. From the outset, we know that something dark happened between her and her two best friends, Sally and Carol, whilst they were at boarding school. We get a lot of hints about what happened, but even when we learn that secret, lots of others continue to be uncovered.

The book begins as the women receive an invite to visit their old school before it is demolished. This starts to bring up the past and Beth starts to look for Carol, who has been off of everyone’s radar for quite a while.

…when some shocking news threatens to unearth their dark secret, Beth enlists the help of private investigator Matthew Hill to help her and Sally reconnect with estranged Carol – before the terrible act they committed as teenagers is revealed.

What Did I Think?

I often go into modern thrillers with some trepidation. I don’t know why – I usually enjoy them. I just think it is a hard genre to get right, without going over-the-top with twists and reveals, but Teresa Driscoll got it spot on.

I couldn’t put this book down and it’s by far the quickest I have read a book in the last 6 months. The steady flow of secrets being revealed and questions arising kept me on the edge of my seat. The tone of the book is just right – even during quite dark or violent scenes, the tone of Driscoll’s writing was sensitive, mature and kept the pace moving.

I really liked the main characters of Beth and Carol. Carol in particular was kept so mysterious right until the end, that there was no way of knowing what the truth was. I enjoyed being kept guessing and I certainly didn’t see any of the twists coming! (Although, for someone who loves a thriller, I often don’t see the twists coming – that’s not to say that you wouldn’t either.)

4 out of 5 stars – I would definitely recommend to any fellow thriller enthusiast.

Have you read ‘The Promise’? What did you think?
Are there any other good thrillers you would recommend?

(P.S – if this seems like your kind of book and you want a hard copy, there’s currently 37% off on the Book Depository! Here is the link.)

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What Self-Care Looks Like To Me

Well, it’s been a while!

I haven’t written a post in quite a few months, which I’m sure not many people have noticed, but I wanted to get back into the swing of things and start blogging more frequently again.

So, this #SelfCareSunday, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what self-care looks like to me…

Preventative Self-Care

barbell on the floor
Photo by Leon Martinez on Pexels.com

I’ve been trying to put more of my time this year into preventative self-careThat is, taking care of myself to keep my body and mind healthy, to avoid any down-turns in my mental health, rather than waiting until I feel the need to use self-care to recover.

One of the main ways I’ve been doing this (hint the picture above…) is heading to the gym. I have a real love-hate relationship with exercise on the whole, but I do know that if I drag myself out the house and go for a jog, or sweat my way through a gym class, I do feel better. This works if I’m in a bad mood, but I have also noticed that on the weeks that I put the effort in to work out more often, I feel better on the whole.

I also like to make sure that I am always getting enough sleep. I am someone who needs plenty of sleep to function properly! I know this fact about myself, so why starve myself of sleep? For me to feel calm and prepared for the day ahead, I need to have had a good night’s sleep.

Self-Care First Aid

white bed comforter
Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com

Sometimes (frequently) you have a bad (awful) day, filled with stress and panic, and you need some serious self-care time that evening to recover.

On those days (and there are plenty of them, believe me!) I like to take time to myself to calm down, relax and repair. This will look different all the time, but it usually involves some of the following:

  • Climbing into bed early.
  • Curling up with a good book. (Have you read my post on The Best Book Genres for a Cosy Night In?)
  • Watching Netflix. (I might write a Netflix recommendations post soon, if you’d be interested in reading that then please let me know in the comments!)
  • Cuddling my cat.
  • Cooking up some delicious comfort food.
  • Taking a bath with lots of Dead Sea salts.
  • Stretching/attempting some funny-looking yoga.

 

I have found that doing some more pro-active and preventative self-care has lessened the frequency of those ‘first aid’ days, but sometimes you just have to spend a few hours recovering.

What does self-care look like to you?

 

If you want to read more about my self-care habits, I have written posts before on winter self-care ideas and low energy self-care activities.

 

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5 Winter Self-Care Ideas

There are lots of things to moan about in the winter – who really likes the dark evenings and stepping in a huge puddle? However, there are also lots of things to love about the winter too. Like the lighter mornings, the crisp, clean feel to the air, and the atmosphere of celebration around the holidays.

The cold weather and the dark can take their toll on your mood if you’re not careful – as can the holidays, which are often difficult times for people, for all sorts of reasons. For these reasons, it is really important to take care of yourself in the colder months. Self-care can be a solution to a bad day or, even better, a preventative measure, carried out little and often to help keep those low days at bay.

Here are 5 simple self-care ideas for you to try out this winter:

  1. Put on clean bed sheets. (Bonus points if they have a wintery pattern, are fleecy, or accompany your change to the ‘winter duvet’.)
    There’s nothing quite like climbing into your bed at the end of the day when the sheets are brand new and super comfortable. If you’re having trouble sleeping, make sure your room is at the right temperature for you and perhaps try a sleep spray or a hot milky drink as well.

    white bed comforter
    Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com
  2. Bake a treat for someone.
    Baking on its own is often therapeutic, but why not add on the additional joy of taking what you’ve made and sharing it with someone. Maybe your co-workers would like a Monday pick-me-up, or an elderly neighbour would really appreciate the gesture? If you’re not a confident baker and want to start off with something more simple, the packet mixes you can get from supermarkets that just involve adding water or eggs are brilliant. They are also great for baking with young children!
  3. Wrap up warm and go for a walk.

    a thick scarf and a hand holding a hot drink
    I love to grab my collapsible coffee cup, put on a thick scarf, and go for a long walk.

    This is one of my favourite activities, despite the cold weather. When it’s a dry but cold day, I love to wrap up in my cosiest jumper, a thick scarf and a woolly hat, and head out for a walk. If I’m going by myself, I’ll often take a book to stop off somewhere and have a read, or I’ll listen to a podcast whilst I walk. If it’s me and my fiance walking, we’ll often play Pokemon Go on our route, or just enjoy the time to talk with no distractions. My reusable cup filled with coffee often joins us on the walk too! This activity is great for your mind, as well as getting your legs moving and incorporating a little bit of exercise into your self-care routine.

  4. Read a book in bed.
    Simple, classic, and a perfect activity for a wet and rainy day. Grab a hot drink, curl up in your duvet and appreciate having the time to do nothing except read your favourite book. For winter reads I particularly love horrors, thrillers, historical fiction and crime novels.
  5. Have a totally indulgent hot bath or shower.
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    I know that I’ve said before that self-care is about more than just hot bubble baths, however sometimes that is exactly what you need. Treat yourself to a warming and relaxing bath to escape the cold weather and relax. If baths aren’t your thing, just allow yourself the indulgence of not worrying too much about the hot water bill for a few minutes and whack the heat up on your shower. Choose a luxuriously scented shower gel, sing as loud as you like and feel the tension melt away.

 

What do you love most about the colder months?

Hopefully, if the cold weather has got you feeling blue, there are a couple of ideas here that can help you take care of yourself. (If you think you’re low feelings are more serious, or that you may be suffering from SAD or similar, I urge you to seek advice from a professional.)

Happy winter!

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3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge: Day 2

If you saw my post yesterday, you’ll already know that the wonderful Kelly over at Paperback Adventures tagged me in this challenge and I am very happy to take part! I had a lot of fun finding today’s quote and I’m still feeling inspired from yesterday’s post too! The idea is to share a quote each day for three days. I think it’s a great way to share inspirational or motivational quotations that I love and hopefully inspire some of you too. 🙂

RULES

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote each day for three consecutive days.
  • Nominate three new bloggers a day.

 

Today’s quote:

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King

A quotation about my favourite hobby by one of my favourite authors; it couldn’t be more perfect! I love Stephen King (if you’re interested at all, my favourite King novels are probably Misery and The Shining) and he always speaks wise words about books, reading and writing.

My all-time favourite pastime is, and always has been, reading. I just love books in general really. I love the education you can get from a book, the feelings you can explore through a novel, and just the pure escapism of reading. That’s why I adore this quote. King has perfectly pinpointed the magic of books and how they can travel with you anywhere and everywhere as you live your life.

 

I don’t really know enough bloggers yet to tag 3 people per day, but I’m hoping 3 in total is enough!

Today I tag Bexa, who has the prettiest blog known to man and is always a positive face to see on my Twitter feed 🙂

 

Want to by your own little piece of portable magic? Please consider buying from The Book Depository via my affiliate link.

A hand holds a hot chocolate with marshmallows next to an open book.

The Best Book Genres for a Cosy Night In

What do we want? A cosy night in! When do we want it? Now!

Oh yes, I am in full-on cosy mode. It helps that I’ve been ill this weekend so I’ve been wrapped up in bed most of the time anyway, but I am really in the mood for a long evening spent with a hot chocoloate, a fluffy blanket, and a good book.

A hand holds a hot chocolate with marshmallows next to an open book.
The three perfect ingredients: hot chocolate, fluffy blanket, good book.

Personally, I think there are some book genres that lend themselves to cosiness and Autumn evenings more than others, and in this post, I’ll be sharing my top 3 suggestions of genre, along with a few book recommendations.

All book titles are linked to their pages on the Book Depository website. I love the Book Depository and would always recommend it over other online book retailers. For full disclosure, please note that all links to the Book Depository in this post are affiliate links. This costs you no extra money, but means that if you buy the book I earn a small commission. 

1. Historical Fiction

Historical fiction is, for me, a go-to autumnal genre. Something about lavish castles, royal courts and family drama just gets me hooked for a long evening reading session. My favourite historical period to read about has always been the Tudor period, or the Elizabethan era. For that reason, my number one recommendation for a historical fiction read this Autumn is the Philippa Gregory classic, The Other Boleyn Girl. Far superior to any of the film adaptations, Gregory’s book is a romantic and mysterious read that will keep you turning the pages for hours on end. (Bonus TV recommendation: The Tudors! Who remembers that show? My absolute favourite!)

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2. Fantasy/High Fantasy

Much in the same vein as historical fiction, the vast settings, sword fighting and elfish charm of fantasy is perfect for a cosy night of reading. Sometimes you can’t beat a dwarvish quest or a battle for the throne, and there’s something about classics such as Lord of the Rings that have that wintery feel to them. Plus, fantasy novels are usually quite lengthy books, which means you need the long winter nights to get stuck into them!

I would of course recommend the  Lord of the Rings trilogy, and The Hobbit. (How gorgeous is this box set?! I’ve got my on this for sure!)

The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings Boxed Set

I would also recommend reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series, aka ‘Game of Thrones’. If you’re brave enough that is! These are weighty books, packed full of detail, but well worth the commitment if you can stick with them. Let’s just hope George R. R. Martin eventually gets round to writing the next book!

3. Chick Lit

As much as I have a few fundamental issues with the term ‘chick lit’ (perhaps a discussion for another day!) I do think that this lighthearted, feminine genre has a place on this list. When the cold dark nights are drawing in and the balmy summer evenings filled with mojitos are long behind us, a feel-good romantic comedy can be just the remedy.

The summer holiday reads you see advertised everywhere in July and August aren’t my first choice for a September read, but there are a lot of great ‘chick-lit’ titles out there that I like to reach for when I want a relaxing night in with a glass of wine and a bar of chocolate. My recommendation would be the ultimate in funny-girl icons, Bridget Jones.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

There they are, my recommendations for a cosy night in of reading and relaxing. What would be your number one recommendation?

hugs

 

The Self-Care Sloth
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