All About ME! · Hobbies

Learning a New Hobby and Picking Up Some Old Ones

I think I can speak for a lot of parents when I say that we’ve all had a moment of feeling a little bit like we’ve lost ourselves. Our days are spent working, looking after the kids, keeping the house tidy, and maybe occasionally socialising in the little time we have left – having a hobby didn’t seem like something I had time for.

When I was a kid, I had all sorts of hobbies and some of them felt like they helped to define who I was. Just lately, I’ve been trying to do more things for myself, now that the girls are older and don’t need constant attention, and as well as picking up some old hobbies again, I’ve also been trying some new ones. Here’s a look at what I’ve been up to:

Cross Stitch

My Hobby - Baby Yoda Cross Stitch
Cross stitch is probably my favourite hobby and this one of The Child from The Mandalorian is the one I’m most proud of!

If you follow me on social media, you might have got a peek of a few of the cross stitch projects I’ve completed lately. I’ve always enjoy sewing and crafts, but I’d never tried cross stitch before. Then Husband bought a kit for Sausage and I to try and I haven’t looked back! As well as being a great way to pass the time and stretch myself creatively, it’s SO gratifying to put that final stitch in a piece and enjoy the rewards of your hard work. I’ve even been making them for people’s birthdays! I think it’s probably my favourite hobby right now.

Online Casino

In our pre-kids days, Husband and I were members of a casino and used to love a night out amongst the slots and tables. We’d have a meal, play a few games of blackjack or roulette, check out some of the latest slot singapore has to offer, enjoy some cocktails and wander around, soaking up the ambiance. Sometimes you just can’t beat going to an actual casino, especially as some casinos have some of the most beautiful venues around. It’s been a fair while since we’ve been able to do that, but that hasn’t stopped me enjoying a little flutter online, especially when you can find some great deals like 25 free spins no deposit.

Gaming

When I was younger, I loved playing computer games. I had a ZX Spectrum in the late eighties, a Nintendo Gameboy which I was GLUED to in the early 90’s, an N64 (Goldeneye is still one of the best games of all time, DON’T @ ME), followed by a PS1, PS2 and so on and so forth, but my gaming time dwindled as I got older and busier. And, while 200 percent bonuses on the aforementioned online casinos are fun, we also seriously appreciate playing a good computer game. Husband has a PS4 now, and he’s managed to get me into playing Red Dead Redemption, and I also recently got SIMS 4 on my laptop. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the remaster of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1&2 for the PS4. Pure nostalgia for Husband and I!

 

Soap Making

Another hobby I’ve discovered is soap making. It’s surprisingly easy to do if you use pre-mixed soap base (yeah, so I’m not a purist, but the thought of trying to use chemicals like lye when I’m a clumsy calamity is scary!) and I love finding combinations of essential oils which are theraputic for the mind and body. I’ve given soaps as gifts over the last few months too, and it’s all been very well received. I love making personalised gifts like this, based on what I know about the person I’m giving it to.

Baking

Authentic German Plum Cake
Authentic German Plum Cake

I’ve loved baking for as long as I can remember. When I was in Primary School, we had dedicated kitchens for the kids to use to bake in and the heady smell of sugar and margarine being creamed together before being baked with flour and eggs still takes me back to those days. Husband recently bought me a stand mixer as part of my birthday present, because I wanted something with a dough hook to take some of the stress out of kneading bread, but I’ve actually used it to make SO many different things! I think my proudest bake so far was the German plum cake I attempted in homage to Husband’s late grandmother – he said it was just as good as hers, which is HIGH praise indeed!

All About ME! · Music

My Nostalgic Music Playlist #MemoriesInMusic

My Nostalgic Music Playlist #MemoriesInMusicIf there’s one thing which is sure to evoke a lot of memories, it’s hearing a particular song which reminds me of a specific time in my life. Some of those memories are so strongly linked to the song that it can actually remind me of how I felt when I was hearing it, way back when. Chums, the online-fashion retailer have recently created a campaign to search for Memories in Music to help people bring the happier days back to life. With this in mind, I thought I’d share some of my most nostalgic songs for you:

Rhiannon – Fleetwood Mac

When I was 6, my Mum and Dad split up, and my Mum and I moved in with her parents for a while. We shared a set of bunkbeds in their small second bedroom and although it was cramped, I was happy. Mum had job in a bar and I’d sit with her in the evening, watching her get ready, listening to her music – the smell of hairspray reminds me of this, too! Mum had her stereo and a load of vinyl in our room, and one of her favourite bands was Fleetwood Mac (she had a bit of a Stevie Nicks vibe going on in the late 80s!) and Rhiannon reminds me so much of this time.

Mmmbop – Hanson

Anyone who knows me well knows that I was a MASSIVE Hanson fan when I was younger. When Mmmbop came out, I immediately fell in love and even to this day, I feel transported back to a really happy time when I hear it. My whole bedroom was covered in Hanson posters, including the ceiling, and I used to spend Saturday mornings sitting by the TV with a blank tape in the VHS, waiting to hit record, just in case they came on the telly!

Rewind – Craig David

When I was about 15, my friends and I would spend every Friday night at “Intrigue”, an under 18’s Nappy Night, located in an old bingo hall. We’d get dressed up in what were, looking back, some rather over-the-top outfits (a powder blue lace dress, white Wonderbra and a white feather boa was a personal fave, and NO, my mother did NOT know I was going out dressed like that!) and feel like we were going to a proper nightclub. UK Garage was massive around this time, and this song was a particular fave…still is, if I’m totally honest! It’s like my guilty music pleasure.

Everlong – Foo Fighters

I’ve loved Foo Fighters since the first time my friend Steven played The Colour and The Shape to me, back in the late 90’s, but Everlong has always been my favourite. When Husband and I met, one of the things we immediately bonded over was music, especially Everlong. We’d been together just a few months when we saw Foo Fighters play in Hyde Park on the day after my 22nd birthday, and it’s been something that brings back amazing memories ever since.

God Only Knows – The Beach Boys

Another song that is special to Husband and I is “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys. When I was around 9, my family and I lived in a house which was just down the road from a second-hand record shop and it became routine for me to go there on a Saturday morning and buy a record. I started collecting vinyl and Pet Sounds was a personal fave. In those early days of our relationship, when we’d sit and talk for hours, learning about each other, I found out that Husband was a huge Beach Boys fan when he was a kid too. Back in September 2016, we were lucky enough to get tickets to see Brian Wilson perform at a local venue, and it was one of the most amazing experiences that Husband and I have ever had – it’s something I’ll remember until I’m old and grey.

What are your #MemoriesInMusic? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

All About ME!

A Little Bit of Self Improvement

A Little Bit of Self ImprovementI don’t know about you, but September for me always feels like a time for new beginnings. I think it’s the start of the new school year that does it, but I always feel like I should be embarking on a new project or job at this time of year. With both girls now in full time education, I have time to do something just for me, so I thought I’d share a few self-improvement things that I’m thinking of embarking on in the coming weeks:

NLP Training

NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. ‘Neuro’ being your brain, ‘Linguistic’ the language we use with others and how that can influence their thinking and behaviour and our own self talk and how that impacts on our results. A good accredited NLP Training programme can help you to become more successful in many areas of your life.

Exercise

One of the single most important things that I need to do after the holidays is get back to the gym. As well as needing to lose a lot of weight and improve my physical health, exercising always seems to have a positive effect on my mental health, too, giving me an overall more positive outlook. This usually helps me to be more productive in other areas.

Learning

I really want to resume my OU studies and complete an Early Years Education degree. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was a kid, and having spent more time in class with BB this year, I realise I’m never happier than when I’m in a school environment. I really want a job where I feel like I’m contributing to society.

Volunteering

Something that I’ve always enjoyed doing is volunteering my time to a good cause. Giving money to charities is essential, but giving time can sometimes be even more valuable. When I was younger, I spent my Saturdays volunteering in a Child Contact Centre, where parents with a court order in place could have visitation with their kids and although it was sometimes upsetting, it was also incredibly rewarding.

Find a Hobby

If I have any time left after all of my other attempts at self improvement, I’d really like to find a hobby. I spend SO much of my free time either surfing social media and the internet or watching TV and I think it might be making my brain turn to mush! I need to find something to do which actually helps me to engage my brain, or at the very least helps me to do something creative.

All About ME! · Mental Health

Working on Myself

Photo by Bryan Minear on Unsplash

I’ve not talked about it on here very much, but last year, I did a round of high-intensity therapy to try to help me with some issues that I’ve been dealing with for many years. My sessions finished just before Christmas, but I’ve been trying to do some work on my own before going back to see my therapist again, mostly around ways to improve my feelings of confidence and self worth. It’s really hard, trying to change a lifetime of negative feelings, but I’ve come up with a little list of things that I’m planning to try, in order to help. Here they are, in no particular order:

Treating Myself to New Things

I have a real problem with buying myself clothes or anything that’s solely for me, but it’s something that I need to change. Wearing nice things gives you a mental boost and makes you feel happier, and I’m planning to treat myself to a new summer wardrobe over the next few months so that I go into the nice weather feeling confident.

Dancing Queen

I’ve never been an amazing dancer, but dancing is always something I’ve loved to do. I used to go to a belly dancing class and absolutely loved it (not to mention hours spent on the dance floor every Friday and Saturday night!). It’s a place where I can do an activity which is just for me, and maybe make a few friends along the way, too.

Maintain Friendships

I’m a bit of a weird creature – I’m very sociable and can chat the hind legs off of a donkey, but actually making myself leave the house and have a social life has become increasingly difficult over the last decade. I’ve promised myself that 2019 is the year that I try to connect with people more and actually make an effort to make plans.

Ignore the Haters

When you’ve spent your whole childhood being mocked and criticised, it’s really hard to eject all those bad words from your brain. I’ve still got a whole section of my brain dedicated to remembering it all and I’m making an effort to let it go. It’s probably the hardest part of all this as most of it is deeply ingrained, but I’m doing my best to remember that people who truly love me would never want to tear me down, only build me up.

Do you have any amazing tips for improving self-confidence and self-worth? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

All About ME!

Summer Weddings: Finding the Perfect Dress

Husband and I have been invited to a wedding in August, and I am SO excited about it – not only do we get to dress up and have a fun evening with our best friends, we also get to STAY AT A HOTEL for the night, which is something we haven’t done in literally years! Of course, going to a wedding means finding the perfect outfit, so when Fashion World got in touch to ask if I’d like to take a look at their range of women’s dresses, I jumped at the chance!

I knew that I wanted something in either blue or grey, as they’re the colours which suit me best, and if it was blue, ideally it would be navy. I’ve had an obsession with peacock feathers for ages, and wanted to be able style whatever I wore with a peacock-feather fascinator, so it meant that I could narrow down my search on the site by not only size, but also colour and occasion. Here’s what I chose:

BEADED PROM DRESS

To be totally honest, the picture doesn’t do it justice – the beading on the front is not only very intricate, but the peacock-inspired colours really pop, shimmering with blues, turquoises and purples in the light. It’s going to be absolutely perfect with my dream head-wear and I can’t wait to see what the whole outfit looks like together.

My mission now is to find the perfect shoes and bag to go with the outfit. As we’re staying, the bag only needs to be big enough to fit my phone and bank card, so something clutch-sized. The shoes would ideally be a mid-sized heel (I don’t want flats but I walk like a baby giraffe in skyscraper heels!), and would compliment the colour of the dress. I saw an incredible pair or purple platforms in a Kurt Geiger sale, but I wasn’t brave enough to buy them and now they’re sold out! Any suggestions of accessories to complete the outfit would be much appreciated!

What do you think of my choice?