Goodbye 2015

Goodbye 2015

Another year has gone by.

 

I can safely say this year has been a complete and utter rollercoaster for me. So many ups, and so many downs. Loss, grief, change, surprise, heartbreak, reconciliation, celebrations to name a few. I have experienced every single emotion, and I am happy to admit I am really glad this year is almost over. A lot of people use the New Year as a fresh start, and I am definitely one of those people. But 2016 will be a little bit different, and maybe a little bit more selfish, but in the best possible way.

 

2016 is the year of Me.

 

It is the year I put my happiness first.

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And no, it doesn’t mean I’ll forget everyone else’s happiness, or indeed shut out everybody else on my quest for inner contentment, but it means I am going to put a bit more thought into what it is that makes me happy.

Somebody very wise once said to me that I am sensitive to people’s feelings, sometimes a little too sensitive; in that I worry so much about what people think that it stops me doing things, in fear I will be judged. And it’s true. I think a lot of people suffer from this irrational fear of what people will think of them, but people will think what they want, regardless of what I do or say.

I am going to say yes more, and also say no to things which is just as important. I want to travel more, see more of the world, and meet new people. I want to work on how to push my career further, and aim higher than ever before. Yes this will mean leaving my comfort zone, but nothing is worth anything without a little risk.

 

An arrow can only be fired by first being pulled backward; so have faith that if things seem to be falling down, you will soon be fired into something amazing.

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I’ll do a post early on in the New Year with a review of my bucketlist of 2015, and then a brand new one which is looking very exciting 😀

 

But for now, take this as my promise, that 2016 is the year of me. And I am so excited for it.

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New Year’s Eve Games Ideas

New Year’s Eve Games Ideas

So with New Year’s Eve literally around the corner everybody is buzzing with what great plans they have to bring in the New Year. Although a tad overrated, I always love New Year because I see it as an opportunity to have quality time with whoever I spend it with. It’s become something of a tradition that I spend it with my best friends (in my opinion nothing could be better); and among the alcohol and laughter, gossip and good food, we LOVE a board game. So this year is no different. I’m spending the evening with my best pals and we’ve all been instructed to bring a board game along with everything else!

Speaking to a few of my friends both offline and online this seems to be a common occurrence this year, with people opting to stay inside with friends rather than face the extortionate prices and possible regret a night out may bring. I can safely say that long gone are the days where I would sacrifice food for a very expensive night out, to then spend HOURS queuing to get into the same place I would go every weekend, and to top it all off to then have to queue to get to the bar. And of course not forgetting the impossible task of finding a taxi home. Nope.

 

So I thought I would list some of the best board games I have experienced, and feel free to add to this, what are your favourite board games?

 

5 Second Rule

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Nope, not a game developed from dropping your food on the floor and deeming it safe to eat; this game is a fast talking fast thinking game where you have five seconds to answer questions such as naming 3 breeds of dog, or four countries beginning with the letter b. Seems easy but under pressure it’s comical what people come out with! Add alcohol to the mix and this game is seriously hilarious.

 

Pie Face

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A game of nerves, players load the throwing arm with squirty cream or whatever you want, maybe a wet sponge or even mashed potato depending on how brave you are! Somebody then places their head in the frame and turn the handle hoping not to be splatted in the face! It’s not the most complicated game in the world, but is definitely guaranteed to bring in some laugh. I have seen so many people playing this over Christmas, it must be a top buy this year!

 

Articulate

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One of my favourite games, and one I am happy to admit I am rubbish at ha! This is another fast talking game where players try to describe as many card entries as possible to their team mates in 30 seconds. This needs a little bit of skill in terms of knowledge, but there are topics everyone can have a go at, it’s a cracking game.

 

Cranium

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A firm favourite of mine. Introduced to me by one of my university friends, we still all play this as a group when we get together and it never gets old. Played in teams, you have until the egg timer runs out to complete tasks, which if won get you further round the board to eventually get into the Cranium Central area and complete the activities there. The activities are split into four groups: “Creative Cat”, which asks, amongst other things, that you sculpt a contact lense out of clay–or draw a picture of baked beans on toast (with your eyes closed, of course). Then there is “Data Head”–do you know where the saying “back to square one” originates? Did Thomas Crapper really invent the flushing toilet? Another activity is the “Word Worm”–can you spell words backwards or solve puzzles with a cryptic clue such as “nervous neckwear”? Finally, there is the “Star Performer” activity (all families have one or two in this category.) Get them to emulate a John Cleese sketch or act “a back seat driver”. When a team reaches Cranium Central, they have to complete one activity from each activity category to win. A sure favourite for whoever plays it.

 

Cards Against Humanity

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Not one for the easily offended, but this game guarantees a good old cry-laugh. I’m chuckling even as I write this. The game is pretty simple really. Players each have a number of white cards with various awkward/disgusting answers. They take turns choosing a question on a black card, and players then try to answer it with their funniest card. All I can say is play this game! You can even get expansion packs of this game so the fun never ends, and if you were feeling really creative, go ahead and make up some of your own answers!

 

 

So there you have it, some of my favourite games. What are your favourite games to play?

Have a wonderful New Year whatever you are doing, I hope you spend it with loved ones and have lots of food, drink, laughter and love.

 

Love Sophie xxx

 

Hello Again…

Hello Again…

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Hey guys!

I cannot believe the last time I posted was AUGUST. So much has happened since then; both good times and some maybe not so good, but now is time to get back on it. I have spent so much time thinking ‘oh I really must get back into my blog’, and life has just happened. So I apologise for that, I’m back 🙂

While I sit in my bed with a hot cup of tea I thought this would be the perfect time to look over my goals for the past year and review where I am so far. If anyone had told me this year would have gone the way it did I wouldn’t have believed them.

 

So… if you want to look at my post in January here it is

It’s so interesting to look back, this is one of the many reasons I love blogging. Do any of you guys do this, read back through old posts and get a little nostalgic? I love a bit of reminiscing.

 

So let’s have a look how I have done with my goals.

 

‘2015 is the year I complete my Post Graduate degree and (fingers crossed) become an Early years Teacher.’

I did it! I completed my EYTS in August woop! I worked so hard and it was all worth it, I was graded Outstanding which is unbelievable!

‘It will also be the year I truly focus on my blog, attend bloggers events and interact with my fellow bloggers!’

I have to be honest and say my blog took the back seat this year, and while I have made some amazing friends from blogging, I want to attend more events and meet my blogging friends next year.

‘I am also really hopeful that 2015 will be the year I feel a bit more settled, and spend more time with loved ones.’

Sadly this hasn’t really been the case. I lost two members of my family this year, which has been really tough on us all. It’s horrid how grief can affect you. I also had a really tough few months from September to November, and so I haven’t really felt settled at all. However, I feel so positive now I have had the time to grieve and restart, I feel secure in my relationship and my friends and family are just so wonderful! Here is to 2016.

‘I want to look back and see that 2015 was a pivotal year in my life in terms of career path. The year that I set my own challenges and surprised myself. I also want 2015 to be the year I embraced the people/things I love.’

I definitely see 2015 as a pivotal year in my life, although not how I thought it would be at all. I feel that due to shit (excuse my language but sometimes no other word will do) going on, I really have learnt about who I need in my life, as well as what I need to do to keep them in my life.

Rather than focus on work, work, work, for me, my lifestyle is what is important. My happiness. I work to live, not live to work. This next year is all about saying yes to new experiences, not being afraid to go for what I want, and being proud of who I love.

 

‘What is your number one goal for 2015?

Be a total badass, work hard, and play harder.’

 

I will carry this forward into 2016, I will continue to be a total badass.

 

 

 

In January I will be posting all of my new year’s resolutions, I can’t wait to read all of yours!

How do you think your 2015 has gone?

Was it how you expected it to be? Any surprises?

Love,

Sophie xxx

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Ways to Manage Stress

Ways to Manage Stress

Hello everybody!

Firstly I must apologise for my loooong absence. I am so close to the end of my Postgrad and will soon be an Early Years Teacher! Juggling that and a full time job as well as a bloody long commute has absolutely fried me, and any spare time I have is used to sleep. Amongst the chaos and stress of this time in my life I was hugley privileged to watch one of my best friends marry the love of her life. So congrats to you two Beth and Kev, it was a truly amazing day and night 🙂 Here are a few lovely photos:

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So aside from a few wonderful moments in the last few months I have probably been the most stressed out I have ever been in my life. At times I have felt very overwhelmed and felt like I have been almost at breaking point over the amount of things I am juggling. And then it happened. The panic attack. Now there are people who may read this who have had panic attacks and know what I mean, or they may experience something different, but I’ll explain a little about my experience.

Driving to work I had managed to do the entire hour long journey, and when I was around the corner from work I started to feel dizzy, fuzzy headed. I have been known to faint in the past and it felt a little like that so I tried not to focus on it and sang very loudly to the radio. I managed to pull into the work carpark and run inside the building where I sat in the office. Suddenly my chest felt tight and I could’t get my breath. Panicking, I started to struggle to breathe, and in my head I kept thinking ‘I’m going to die.’ From talking to other people who have suffered from panic attacks, this seems quite common. I ran to get a colleague and shouted for help, all while sobbing uncontrollably. She said afterwards my face went blue, then red, then white as the blood drained from my face. I sat down and started to get my breath back as she talked to me and calmed me down. Then it was over.

I hope I never suffer from a panic attack ever again, but to me it was a much needed reality check that I was putting way too much pressure on myself, and I needed to do something to try and manage the stress I was under.

Rather than talk about my work load, I’ll tell you about some strategies I’ve been working on to help me manage the stressed out, overwhelmed feeling.

1. Get enough sleep.
I try to get between 7-9 hours sleep per night, exhaustion never works for anybody.

2. Exercise.
In my small amounts of spare time I go for walks with my sister in the countryside, as a way to clear my head. I force myself to switch off from work and enjoy the smells, sounds and sights of the beautiful landscape around me.
I also try to do yoga. Don’t take me for a yoga expert, I watch youtube videos, which are amazing. If you’re curious, try Yoga with Adrienne, she is so calming and really knows her stuff.

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3. Drink lots of water
Water detoxes the system, and when you’re stressed, you need a clear mind and body, free of toxins. Make sure you have a bottle of water with you at all times, I like to put a bit of squash in mine, then I drink more!

4. Cut down on caffeine
I am a HUGE tea fan as you all know, and so now I switch to decaf tea when I’m at home. In our house the kettle is always boiled or boiling so I was drinking a lot of caffeine which sends the heart crazy and can cause palpitations!

5. Have a healthy diet
Eat lots of greens, and try to cut out high sugary fatty foods, as well as alcohol. I feel so much better when I’ve had lots of fruit and veg.

6. Do what makes you happy
I like to sing, it doesn’t mean I’m good at it, but a 75 mile commute means I have lots of time to belt out my favourite tunes. Just call me Beyonce 🙂

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7. Meditate
I downloaded an app called Calm, it’s a meditation app and has lots of natural sounds while a lovely lady helps you to relax and find your centre. Give it a go if you’re into that kind of thing!

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If you have any other strategies or ideas to manage stress and keep calm, I would love to hear from you! Just comment below or email me on sophie_deacon@hotmail.co.uk and I will make a compilation post with all of your contributions.

Stay happy,

Love Sophie xxx

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What are you happy for?

What are you happy for?

Hey guys and happy Monday!

I hope you have all had as relaxing an Easter weekend as mine has been; I have barely moved!

So one of my fave bloggers Louise has written a lovely little post as part of her ‘Motivational Monday’ series, which you can find here. Here she lists some of the things that make her happy, so I thought I’d write a little list of my own, and encourage all of you to do the same 🙂

Sometimes it does us good to remind ourselves of the things that make us happy; big or small, and that sometimes, parts of life aren’t bad at all ❤

This Monday I am happy for –

Waking up to sunshine streaming through the window
Green tea
My newfound love for yoga and all the wonderful youtube videos out there
My lovely squishy doggy
Long phone calls with loved ones
Family time
Leggings with cats all over them
Reuniting with my university friends and nothing changes (they’re still crazy and wonderful as ever)
Ideal home magazine
Beautiful notebooks full of ideas and lists
Leave in conditioner
The smell of coconut. YUM.
The blogging community (especially on Twitter the little gems)
The rewarding feeling when you work with children and how magical the journey can be
Chocolate buttons and cup of tea

So let’s all make this Monday a truly happy one, list some of the things that make you happy on this lovely sunny Monday; it will perk you up and make you smile!

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What Makes You Happy?

What Makes You Happy?

Hi everyone and happy Friday!

I’m not one for all of these days with labels but I love the idea of today being the International Day Of Happiness, I think everyone could kind of get on board with that one 🙂

So I won’t make this a huge long list of things that make me happy, but instead show you a few, and then I invite everybody, all bloggers, all friends to share some of the things that make them happy. Positive vibes spread to everybody is great, and you never know, you might just make someone smile.

So here are some of the things that make me happy:

DSCN0665I made a little collection of things that make me feel happy. These include:

Cupcake recipe book (with obligatory teething puppy bite marks in corner).

A notebook to write down ideas, list things, doodle.

My filofax. My lifeline. My organisational buddy.

One of my huge collection of teapots (my favourite one).

My Urban Decay Naked On The Run palette. Makes my face pretty.

My Wicked mug. I love Wicked!

Brighton magnet. I love Brighton, it holds a really special place in my heart, so vibrant and exciting!

Sydney Harbour Bridge decoration. I lived in Sydney for 7 months, it is one of my favourite places and bring back so many amazing memories, I will go back to visit, promise!

Lipstick. Just because.

Knitting needles. Because it’s cool, therefore it makes me cool.

Here are a few photos of what else makes me happy:

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There are so many other things that make me happy. So many people, places and things. Feel free to let me know about the things that make you happy, it’s so interesting to find out about what makes you smile.

What makes you happy?

Is there anything you are looking forward to?

Is there anything you want to change to make you happier?

Love Soph xx

The Benefits of Green Tea

The Benefits of Green Tea

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Hello everybody!

So recently I’ve started what can only be called a change of lifestyle; I’ve joined Slimming World and I am making a conscious effort to lose weight. I’m on week three so once there is a significant change I’ll blog about it 🙂

One thing I’ve really got into during my ‘lifestyle change’ (I refuse to say diet) is introducing healthy foods and drinks into my daily routine, and so I’ve started drinking more green tea. I have always loved green tea (along with all other types of tea) but ever since reading lots of different things stating the different benefits of green tea I’ve made it part of my life. This post is a celebration of all things green tea.

Quick bit of information for those tea lovers, all tea is produced from the Camellia sinensis plant. The fresh leaves are steamed to produce green tea, whereas other types of tea go through a fermentation stage. Green tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, to treat literally anything, from a headache to a more serious condition. They’ve definitely got the right idea!

Some of the benefits:

It contains B vitamins, potassium, folate (naturally occurring folic acid), magnesium and caffeine.

It has anti-inflammatory qualities, proven to reduce skin damage and improve wrinkles, as well as sun damage.

It lowers the risk of diabetes.

It kills bacteria; improving dental health and the risk of infection.

It burns fat; improving physical performance and boosting weight loss.

The natural caffeine improves brain performance, and is linked to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

It combats cardiovascular disease.

It reduces cholesterol.

I’m sure there are many other benefits people who drink green tea have found, and there are many websites with information!

Having made this a part of my daily routine I can say I feel much more alert, my bloating has reduced and I feel happier which I know is part of my routine becoming more active as well, but I know green tea has played a huge part. I also suffer from a bit of anxiety and I feel like that has definitely improved. Whether that be the actual tea or the physical affects is making my mind a lot calmer and positive, either way I’m feeling really happy these days.

I would love to hear if anybody else has felt the benefits of green tea, or if they don’t feel them or disagree, so get in touch with your thoughts 🙂

Speak soon,

Sophie xxx

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