Sunday, 4 June 2017

May favourites 2017 | The Small Desk

This is the first time for a long time I've completely forgotten about doing my monthly favourites. I feel like I've been super busy recently and not had a minute to think! It's only 3 months until my wedding now and preparation is well and truly in swing. So sorry if these favourites are a bit short but I'd rather keep them short than not do them at all!

1. Lemon meringue cake
At the beginning of the month I went on a little trip to a cafe with the boy and had a scrummy lemon meringue cake. Love going for a drink and a cake, especially when it's chucking it down.

2. Chinese for one
One of my new favourite past times when the boy is out is to order Chinese for one and watch trash TV. I think it was in my last favourites as well, it's becoming a tradition!

3. Needle and Thread sample sale
I went to another Needle and Thread sample sale, this time with my bridesmaids. It was a total disaster because we didn't find anything, but it was fun nonetheless!

4. Bike ride with the boy and Dad
I cycled about 14 miles with the boy and my Dad. I'm really getting into this cycling game!

5. Uni friend sleepover
I hate sleeping on my own so my old friend from Uni came to stay over when the boy was up north for his Granddad's funeral. It was fun to chat and catch up, although the power cut we had in the morning wasn't fun!

6. Walk with girls
A couple of my bridesmaids came down to my area and we went for a two hour walk with a pub stop.

7. Eurovision
Then they stayed longer and watched the brilliant Eurovision song contest.

8. Friend's for dinner
One of my bridesmaids had a couple of us over for dinner and made us burrito bowl, it was delicious.

9. Wedding dress alterations
I had some more wedding dress alterations done this month, getting more done next month. It's always a funny experience with my Mum.

10. Friends's bday
One of our good friends had his birthday celebrations this week. We went to a pub and then headed back to theirs for food and games. Was lovely!

11. Boy's uncle and aunt over
The boy's uncle and auntie popped over for coffee and cake one morning and fitted a new bathroom fan for us!

12. Somerset house
We went to the Mat Collishaw VR exhibition at Somerset house, it was fun to have a day out together but I got motion sickness!

13. Hen do
I went to the boy's sister's family hen do this month where we made flower crowns and had tea and cake.

14. Family day
My sister came down from Manchester and we spent the day together. We visited my Grandma in hospital, then went for tea in John Lewis and then had dinner with my parents and the boy.

15. Honest burgers
We went for dinner at Honest burgers in Soho with a couple who we're friends with and then had ice cream afterwards. Was yummy.

Those are my May favourites, how was your May? Can't believe it's June already!


Monday, 1 May 2017

April favourites 2017 | The Small Desk

April has been the month of bike rides and birthdays! It has also been the month where my Grandma's health has deteriorated again, but this is a post about favourites and I will try and keep it that way. Obviously it is important to talk about the lows of life and the struggles people face but I strongly believe that needs a separate post entirely and I'm not sure I will be sharing much about it on the blog. All I will say is that my Mum is an absolute inspiration and continues to amaze me every day with how she is coping with it all.

In regards to birthday times it was my 29th birthday this month. So crazy to think I'll be 30 next year! I'm in a good place for turning 30 but it still feels a bit scary – I feel like everyone says to you when you're at school 'where would you want to be when you're 30?'. It's something that has been made into a massive milestone in society when really it shouldn't be. You don't need to be completely sorted at age 30, it's still really young! If anyone reading this is freaking out about turning 30 – stop, think, age is only a number!

Anyway, onto the favourites...

1. Spring market
I stumbled upon a Spring market in the town where I live with my partner. It was basically a fancy farmer's market. I had a lemon and sugar pancake and it was scrumptious.

2. Work filming in Bristol
I've never been to the centre of Bristol before so it was exciting to see it and all the cool independent shops. The artist I was filming with in Bristol was super talented and really inspirational and only 21!

3. My birthday
On my birthday I went to Bloomsbury bowling with a group of friends. We played for 2 hours and I was terrible. Afterwards we had yummy pizza in the diner next door.

4. Day out with the neighbours
On the Friday of the Easter weekend our lovely neighbours took us to a local antiques market. It had a restaurant attached so we had a delicious lunch there and went out for drinks later as well. We have been so incredibly lucky with our neighbours, I couldn't have wished for better neighbours!

5. Prezzo with family
To celebrate mine and my sister's birthday we all went out to my local Prezzo and had a three course meal. It was lovely to celebrate with my close family, and share pressies.

6. Bike ride with sister
My sister persuaded me to go on a bike ride with her near where my parents live. I was initially a bit nervous about it because I don't think I've ridden a bike in about 10 years! But I really enjoyed it and it made me want to buy a bike!

7. Easter Day dinner with family
This was a funny one as we were meant to spend it with my grandparents but they were too ill to do so in the end. But we had a nice time in the end just me, my partner, my parents and my sister.

8. Staycation
I took a week off work in April and had a 'staycation'. We stayed at home but took day trips almost every day. It was nice to switch off, I really needed it as I hadn't had a proper holiday since Christmas.

9. Brighton
One of our day trips was to Brighton. Me and my partner go at least once a year and it has a special place in our hearts. I think if it it didn't have such a terrible train line (aka Southern) then we probably would be living there and commuting to London. I love the sea, the cute shops and all the veggie cafes.

10. London
We also went to London on one of our day trips, and even though we are there every day for work there is something special about going there purely for leisure.

11. Visiting partner's family
Another of our day trips was visiting my partner's family in Oxfordshire. We went for a lovely walk in the countryside and had a nice lunch at a local pub.

12. BBC Young Dancer 2017
As part of my birthday present my partner bought me tickets to see the final of BBC Young Dancer at Sadler's Wells. It was absolutely incredible. So many talented young people and so great to see such a buzz around all the different types of dance.

13. New mirror
For my birthday my parents bought me a Habitat mirror I'd been lusting after for our living room. It is round with a gold trim and it gorgeous. It really completes the living room. How old am I!?

14. New bike
As I said earlier – I went on a bike ride for the first time in about 10 years and it made me want a bike. Then I found out you can buy bikes on 18 month 0% finance deals and I was sold! I bought a gorgeous new bike and am now a cycling pro... well almost...

15. Wedding dress alterations
I had a pretty intense morning with my Mum going to a wedding dress alternations tailor. It was an experience and a half but we had a laugh about it afterwards. Also very pleased that I've left enough time to get changes made.

16. Bike ride
Is this my third favourite about bikes?! Who am I!? I went on a bike ride with my partner in our local area – we cycled 9 miles and it took about an hour and a half. I have no idea if that is good, all I cared about was that I didn't fall off!

17. Neighbours over
Finally, last night we had our neighbours over for drinks.

How has your April been? I can't believe it's already May!


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Five ways to shut down being spoken down to | The Small Desk

Ok, rule number one: no-one has the right to talk down to you, they don't deserve your time and they don't deserve to be heard. You need to shut them down, and walk away whilst at the same time retaining your dignity and containing your anger. That way they look stupid, feel stupid and you don't waste any energy and stay positive.

Here are five easy sentences to say to people who are putting you down and that allow you to leave the conversation and stop and make the other person think.

On the phone:
1. "Hang on, I need to call you back. I'll ring you back. Bye." And don't ring them back.

In person:
2. "I just need a moment." Walk out of the room and round the block and go back to what you were doing before – do not put yourself back in the situation.

3. "I don't know the answer, but I'll find out and get back to you." And leave.

4. Zone out, stop listening and answer with "I'll email you further tomorrow". And leave.

Over email:
5. Thank you, [your name]. Keep it simple and do not enter into a discussion.

Basically what I've found is if you hit back with more anger it just gets worse. The most irritating thing for someone who is putting you down or trying to make you feel stupid is you not caring. There are better people in your life to care about. End of.

Also, small disclaimer, these are tips I've found work in an office. I don't have these problems at home!


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Top 10 ways to switch off from social media | The Small Desk

As with most of the population I often find myself endlessly scrolling through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, lusting and wishing after other people's lives. Every time I put my phone down after doing this I feel a deep sense of regret for spending that time not living my own life. I'm trying to switch off more from social and live more in the moment; I've been testing out a few different hobbies that I thought would be helpful to share with you.

I'm on holiday from work at the moment, having a staycation and I realise how much easier it is to switch off from mindless scrolling and post your own content when you're not working! So, my tips for switching off from social media are not going to be ones that will involve taking a week off going to a silent retreat, but smaller things that can fit around your everyday life, cost you very little money and are very simple.

I'm sure everyone already does one or more of these things its more about reminding you that these are the easiest ways to switch off and live in the moment.

1. Read a book
I've been a little stuck in a rut recently with reading. I think the fast pace nature of video content is somewhat to blame and I'm finding books a bit slow. I need to read something that is quite fast paced to get me back into it. I get really addicted to reading when I read Jon Ronson books – he's one of my all time favourite writers and I would highly recommend The Psychopath Test and So You've Been Publicly Shamed.

2. Go for a walk
This is much easier for me now as I walk part of the way to work and I live in the countryside. But even if it's just your local park or a walk around your local area – it is the perfect way to clear your head.

3. Tidy your house
Now this one may seem a bit crazy but sometimes having a clear out and a tidy up can actually be really therapeutic. It is the movement of cleaning and tidying and working up a sweat that can leave you feeling like you can justify a bit more social media scrolling!

4. Meal plan your week with cook books
Again this may sound like a chore but it gets your creative juices flowing. Push yourself to create at least one new dish you've not made before and it will get you thinking about how you will present it on Instagram...

5. Listen to a podcast
Lately I've been listening to the new podcast from the creators of Serial. It's called S-Town and tells the story of John B. Macklemore who lives in Alabama and restores clocks for a living. The podcast was created all because John B. wrote to the producers asking them to investigate a murder... It is completely addictive and totally absorbing.

6. Be social IRL
Shocker... go out and socialise! Be that with your home friends, work mates, neighbours or family. Real life face-to-face conversation beats any social media interactions!

7. Paint
The other day I went to Paperchase and bought some felt tip pens and a blank notepad. I'm not proud of my drawings and some are just shapes and doodles but I do find it enjoyable. Everyone can draw even if it is just stick men!

8. Write
Even though this sounds so simple it can be a real stumbling block for a lot of people. People will say but what should I write!? The easiest thing I find to write is just my stream of consciousness. I will write in pen in a notepad what I've done that day, how I'm feeling or just random thoughts. It's a good way to express yourself in a space where no-one will judge you as no-one will read it – unlike social media!

9. Listen to music
Even if you don't have a music subscription service or any CDs you can still listen to thousands of songs for free through YouTube. You can spend hours drifting off listening to the lyrics of your favourite songs.

10. Write a letter
Finally, when was the last time you wrote a letter? Write a letter to someone who might be lonely or isn't going through a great time. It will force you to think about your writing and at the same time give back. You could even decorate the envelope with pretty stickers and drawings.

I hope this has been of some help – how do you switch off from social media?

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