On my mind

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Scrolling back through all my blog posts at all the recent photographs, showcasing a huge smile in every single post, I suddenly realised how I am a part of making everybody believe that life is great and all is good. I try to be as open and honest as possible and I do share a very large proportion of my life here online but sometimes I don't share the down times. This week has been one of the worst weeks for me mentally, in such a long time. I couldn't get out of bed in the morning, I didn't gym once, I was eating shit, I was unhappy, I didn't want to talk anyone when I came home from work and I was so down that I broke down in tears on Thursday night and I didn't even know why. I've tried to clear my head this weekend by writing thing's down, tidying the flat and trying to get organised with paper work etc. and I do feel a lot better today after getting back to the gym and just spending less time on my phone. Josh is out walking with his friend today and right now I kind of wished I had gone along too because the weather is incredible but instead I'm going to spend my afternoon on Pinterest and watch The Holiday. I've also made a long list of all the thing's I'd like to achieve in 2019 so perhaps I'll share that with you soon. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, L.

 

Image from Pinterest.

Reflecting on 2018

At the beginning of the year I purchased my first diary since high school. It was pink and sparkly, everything that is the total opposite of what I would normally go for. It was a notebook, with no days or dates and so I wrote them in by hand, on every single page. I've spent the past year scribbling reminders, important dates, birthdays, bills and all sorts in this little book. It comes to work with me every single day and I've loved having it around (as cheesy as it sounds). I never thought I would have been so attached to something but here we are, almost 12 months later and it still remains with me. (This is really unusual for me, as I usually get fed up with notebooks, especially if I change my handwriting style or write something I have to scribble out). On the very first page I wrote down a couple of bullet points and reminders to myself of what I wanted to achieve throughout 2018 and so, those words and goals are what I'm going to share with you in this post. Oh and I may as well share a couple of my favourite moments I captured too! 

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My first bullet point was 'don't give up'. In my family I'm the one who's well known for starting something and giving up at the first hurdle. I hate that I'm like that and I tried so hard this year not to be. I gave up a little with learning my Thai but I'm back learning. I guess booking flights to Thailand has given me the kick up the bum that I needed. Then again, it shouldn't take a holiday to make me want to learn but after a little misunderstanding and me believing that my Thai granny may be unwell, it was then that I decided to start again. After all, I would be truly disappointed with myself if I never tried to have a conversation with her, out of pure laziness.

'Work your arse off' comes second. Not really sure why I wrote this because I've always worked hard (or at least so I like to believe) but I wanted to work towards my own goals. I wanted to photograph more, write more, read more, learn and be physically fit. I don't think I accomplished as much as I'd have liked to this year but I'm definitely on track to achieving great things - or so I hope!

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When I started writing these bullet points it was a time when I was very unsettled and unsure about what I wanted for the near future. I wanted a house but then I wanted to see the world at the same time and so I decided that seeing the world was more important. I wrote 'save those pennies for travelling' and guess what? I never did save those pennies for travelling, nor for a house or anything else for the matter! So, with this I failed but I'm totally beginning to save for real in the new year and who knows, we may even have our very own home by this time next year... *fingers crossed*. 

 

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'Grab every opportunity by the nuts!'. Not sure I've had many opportunities or at least I can't think of any right this moment but I'd say my total mindset has completely changed. I've tried to be a lot more positive, to make every situation something I could learn from and I guess that's grabbing every opportunity by the nuts, turning something maybe not so great into something great! Ah god, I don't make sense but you get what I mean, right?

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A biggie for me and something I've had engraved into my brain since the beginning of the year is 'be more confident'. I don't know where this vulnerable and insecure feeling comes from sometimes and I often care too much about what other people think. I've told myself that 'if it won't matter this time tomorrow or this time next week, then don't let it ruin your day today' and believe me it works! It takes a lot of drilling in to make you realise but once you've done it a couple of times, it gets easier.

'Do more' and 'drink less', I think these coincide together pretty well as I spent a lot of weekends hungover doing nothing but lying in bed and wasting my day, as well as a lot of money. I'd say I've done pretty well this year! My weekends have been spent wandering the mountains and we got to visit some amazing places this year, from Romania to Greece and places a little closer to home.

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'Get a new job', I did it, I got a new job. After months of searching, 100's of interviews to help me gain confidence and endless knock backs, I finally found a job that works for me. Ok, so it's not my dream job (how do I become a photographer and travel the world?) but I get to work with some fabulous people, I'm 5 minutes from home and I also get my weekends free. What's not to love? I told myself I would do it this year and I did it, with 3 months to spare!

'Don't buy unnecessary shit!!!!' I think I failed, in fact I know I failed. However, I am so much better than I used to be. I plan my outfits now to ensure that the stuff I do buy is money worth spending. Sometimes I buy the odd thing and wonder what an earth was I thinking but it's something I'm definitely learning about. Next year, I'm doing it for real. If it's not money well spent, it's not being spent at all.

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And last but certainly not least, I wanted to 'be inspired by everything'. Nature, lifestyle, travel, work. I'm sure there's something I come across every single day that inspires me in some way. I'll be sure to take this little memo into 2019 with me, or even throughout the rest of life. I want to grow, every single day and learn from my mistakes, help others and help protect the world we live in.

Did you stick to your new year resolutions? Let me know if you did or didn't!

What’s On My Mind?

I took a few days holiday from work thinking I would still be full of cold but thankfully it's shifted and I got to enjoy the Autumn sunshine today. I spent the weekend feeling pretty sorry for myself, my nose would not stop running and my eyes felt like someone had rubbed my eyeball with raw onions and now I've managed to pass it on to Josh, which is great because we all know that this now means he has man flu.. kidding, I will look after him when he's home from work! I've felt so busy lately with work and my mum's cooking business. Thing's just seem to be all go at the moment and I'm enjoying it! I love when I'm in 'all-go' mode because it means I get shit done and I start to see a change in many aspects of my life. Speaking of changes, it's been a month since I started taking the gym seriously and my legs are just a lil bit slimmer than they were. Even my Gran who arrived back from France over the weekend commented, without any prompting which makes me want to keep going even more now that there are small changes starting to appear. I still have to get my diet sorted and with Thailand in less than 6 months time there is nothing more motivating than getting the beach bod I've always wanted. Tip: If you can gym for 45min - an hour before work it is the best thing you can do, trust me! The endorphins it releases is incredible, I only wish I had started sooner.

So, Saturday night I woke up to find Josh propped up in bed, tele on, lamp on and a glass in his hand.. empty! Red wine everywhere! Thankfully it never made it's way on to the carpet but it did go all over my white Egyptian cotton sheets. Serious bad move from my other half but hey ho, such is life. I'm just happy I have him next to me every single night because that's what really matters. I'm learning to take life less seriously, to laugh more and appreciate little moments. Not sure what's triggered in my brain these past few months but I feel like I'm back to the old me, I'm more alive and more present. I don't even know where this is going, I've just felt an urge to come here and write. Anyway, this evening my Mum and I are going to speak with a client about a 50th birthday party we might be catering for which I always enjoy because I love seeing people's homes and I don't mean that in a nosey way but it gives me so much inspo for when we finally get our own home (whenever that will be).

Oh, I've also started purchasing a few bits and bobs for my holiday too. I know it's so long away but I thought if I buy a few thing's gradually then it won't be all one huge expense at the end. Would you like me to share with you? Plus I still have my flights to pay for and I need to save for my open water diving course too. Ah, I have so much I want to do! Now, time to get going. I guess I will speak to you very soon, love L.

Weekend

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Hey loves! How has your weekend been? I feel like I've totally neglected my blog over the past couple of months and I contrary to what I said previously, I do want to update it as often as possible, even if it's just to say hello and to share a few photographs of my week, or even a couple of photos of myself. I enjoy that so hopefully you do too! Last night I went out with some friends to a young farmer party in a field.. I wasn't planning to go cause I had a bad head and I was so tired even though I hadn't done that much during the day but after a G&T I was totally up for it, shock. Today Josh and I had planned on mountain biking at Whinlatter forest but we both decided to have a lazy Sunday, watch films and eat, which I haven't stopped doing all weekend... Send help! My Gran is away at the moment so it's really nice to have the house to ourselves and make use of the living room instead of being confined to our bedroom! Haha, I make it sound like a prison but you know when you just want to watch a film and you have that one person who doesn't stop asking questions? Yep, well that's my Gran! It makes me excited to have my own home and I've realised I'm not a total slob now that the cleaning fairy isn't here to tidy up after me *sorry Gran*. I think we have 7 months left until the flat will finally be paid off, which means we can then start saving for our own home or travelling the world, we haven't decided yet! This evening we are dining at my Mum and Dad's as it's my Mum's birthday, I did offer to cook but she declined, not sure if she trust my cooking.. bit mean if you ask me! Anyway, I guess we will speak sometime soon. Enjoy the rest of the weekend! I'm not sure about you but I actually like Monday's now, is that weird? It always goes so fast because you have to catch up with workload.. Tuesday's are the worst! Love, L. x

 

 

Life Update: Self Confidence, Leaving The High Street, New Job & Vloggin’ Schedule

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Saturday was my final shift at M&S before I start my new office job in sales next month which I am so excited for! Three years on the high street taught me a lot, about the public, business but more so about myself. You probably look at a retail job and think it's easy, anyone can work in retail but let me tell you, it takes balls. You meet so many different people, most of which are lovely and I've been incredibly lucky to build such fab relationships with both my colleagues and with regular customers. However, there are a small few who can leave you feeling pretty rubbish about yourself, get your blood boiling or just simply make you want to throw your hands in the air and say 'fuck it, this is not what I come to work for'. Yes, I have had many of those people who will look right down their nose at you because all you are is a servant to them. You've got to remember that you're so much more than that and you cannot please everyone. Bite your tongue, smile, be even extra charming and try not to dwell on it too much, some people are just rude, which unfortunately they will never grow out of, you'll learn this the older you get.

When I first started at Marks & Spencer back in 2015, I was unbelievably shy, I thought very little of myself (believe it or not) and had no confidence whatsoever. Thankfully my amazing manager noticed this and did her best to help me grow, she pushed me at times when I thought I was incapable and I'm so proud of where I've got to today. I began bra fitting which was super scary but was such a good step in bringing me out of my shell as I had to be confident so that the women I was fitting felt sexy in their underwear. So if I wasn't confident, how could they be? I took on as much I could, I was so open to learning and delving in to thing's I knew nothing about which I also think played a huge part in me gaining more self-esteem. I applied for as many jobs as I could, not because I was looking for something new but because I thought the interview process would help me stop being so god damn shy, which it most definitely did. I had numerous knock backs and at times felt really disheartened but as time went on I learnt how to sell myself and hold a conversation which eventually led to me turning down job offers which was a very satisfying feeling. I'm still a long way off where I'd like to be but looking back at the person I was this time last year just shows how far I've come.

On a lighter note, now that I will have my weekends free, I was thinking of doing weekend vlogs and finally using my premiere pro that I've been paying for for the past 6 months but still haven't used! I love watching weekly vlogs and watching other girls everyday mundane life and as much as I'd like to do my own weekly vlog's, I don't think there is much point as I will be working 9-6 through the week! I'm going to give it a go next week and try and get to grips with premiere pro, which could take some time so bare with me! Anyway, I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my life and even more so getting so spend my Sunday's with Josh! We've actually booked a few nights away in Northumberland so I'm trying to get sorted for that today, although I hate being indoors when the weather is this beautiful outside! Follow me over on my Instagram stories to see what we are getting up to, hugs L.

 

I Went Veggie For One Week, What I Ate, What I Missed, The Verdict?

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Day 1:

2 x scrambled eggs on a piece of wholemeal

roasted falafel and spinach wrap & a black cherry low fat yoghurt

1 x piece of wholemeal toast

creamy mushroom & herb pasta with feta cheese, recipe here.

jam and cream donut

 

Day 2:

alpen with soya milk

left over creamy mushroom and spinach pasta with feta & an alpro soya vanilla yoghurt

roasted vegetables, jacket potato and feta cheese

kinder bueno

piece of french boule toast with soft cheese and honey

 

Day 3:

2 x weetabix with honey and soya milk

roasted vegetables, ryvita cracker's and philadelphia cream cheese

banana

jasmine rice stir fried in yellow curry with peppers and onion, topped with an omelette

 

Here's a little insight in to how my week being veggie began.. then by day 4 I totally forgot to note down what I ate, not that that's important but I thought it might have been useful for anyone thinking of doing a veggie week. So, starting with Monday morning, breakfast at home always involves some kind of eggs, usually poached or scrambled but that morning I decided to have scrambled which I normally have on toast with Bovril. Bovril is beef extract (I think) so obviously that was a no-go and I was a little disappointed that I hadn't thought about it before making scrambled eggs, otherwise I'd of had something else. Anyway, the rest of the week seemed to go okay, I was sent a recipe by Deliciously Ella which was good and I ate lots of vegetables. Just incase you're thinking of doing this, you'll find yourself wanting to go to the toilet so much more often which was a bit of a struggle for me as I work long hours and I don't think there's anything worse than having to use the work toilets to do your business... (Ok, too much info but I want to be honest and this is how eating lots and lots of veg affected my body). I then was struggling to find thing's to eat/snack on so would eat more cheese or thing's that weren't healthy so I actually felt like I put a bit of weight on during my week long veggie stint, FYI it didn't even last that long because 1. I had a piece of toast with cheese spread on which included ham and I didn't realise and 2. I gave up on the Friday night when we were cooking at a client's house to have one of my favourite pork wonton's that my mum makes. I realised veggie life was not for me but I will be doing veggie days more often and encouraging Josh to have a go too. Anyway, I switched from cow's milk to soya milk about 4 months ago and I will never go back to cow's milk because soya is amazing and you must try the chocolate soya, it's blinking delicious! I wasn't actually going to post this but here it is! Next time I give this a go, I'll share pictures and recipes too! Speak soon, L.

Plastic: Something We All Need To Be Talking About

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Plastic, it's everywhere. I've seen many articles online on how plastic is crippling our marine life but nobody seems to do much about it. Having grown up visiting Thailand and truly appreciating the beauty of the sea and the coastlines, the whole idea of 'single use plastic' really grates on me, especially after seeing David Attenborurgh's Blue Planet which was broadcasted for the whole of the UK to see. I recently saw a post on Facebook earlier this year which was a beach littered in plastic and rubbish which not only made me feel angry but also made me feel as though I needed to pass my passion for changing on to others.

Ok, so here I am pictured with a milkshake and a straw, if it was by choice I'd have never of had it but it seemed that every single drink I bought on holiday had a straw plonked in to it, so was I to use it or throw it away, I mean it's already been put in my drink so do I just use it and pretend like it never happened? I didn't even want to share this picture on any social media channel because it goes against what I try to preach to my friends and colleagues but I thought that perhaps writing a post on how we can all make a small difference would benefit us all (especially me because lately I've got a bee in my bonnet and everything is sending me raging, haha!).

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So, what can we all do to help? I've made a few small changes in my every day-to-day life and I think we can all try to do the same, even if you can do just one of those today. I started by buying one large bottle of water and refilling it every single day, carrying it with me to and from work and for the gym. This means I no longer have to buy a bottle of water or use a plastic cup at work (they have got rid of them now though, which I'm happy about, as well as plastic knives and forks!).

Straws.. Do not get me started on straws. Ok, I totally get it, some people really do need them. I didn't understand the importance of straws to some people until I was introduced to a lady from Milnthorpe to do a bra fitting, who had unfortunately suffered with a stroke. It was frustrating for her not get her words out properly as the muscles that controlled her mouth had almost stopped working. She asked for some water with a straw and I could see how much of a struggle it was for her. People like this do need straws but for anyone else, please, please, please stop using them! They take up to 200 years to disintegrate - that's not even in your lifetime! I saw this video which pops in to my mind every time I'm offered a plastic straw, maybe it will help you understand the severity of using them.

I've also started using shampoo and conditioner bars from Lush, I can't believe how long it's taken for me to discover this brand! I know they're popular already but I've never set foot in one of their stores before. When I visited the Lancaster store, I was so overwhelmed with all the scents and the colours. The lady who I spoke to was so helpful and told me which would be best suited for my hair and I ended up leaving with the 2-in-1 shampoo & conditioner jasmine scented bar which you can find here and I absolutely love it! I will never go back to using ordinary shampoo and conditioner again, you have to give it a go! Plus, you won't be using 100's of plastic bottles a year.

And finally, my biggest pet peeve... plastic bags. I'm not going to pretend that I remember my shopping bags every single time I go shopping but I do make an effort to try. The only time when you'll catch me without a bag is when I've had to pick up some last minute bits on the way home from work and I still begrudge buying a bag, not for having to spend the 5p but for encouraging single use plastic. We can all try harder to fill our cars with a bag full of bags or carry some of those fabric ones around in our handbag. This is something I need to try harder with for this year and by next year I'm going to make it my aim to not buy a single carrier bag.

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These are all such small changes which we can all introduce into our lives without so much effort. I'd love to influence at least someone in to making a difference to our world by helping other's understand what's going on. I'm not all as clued up as I'd like to be but I have a genuine care, especially for our marine life. If you want to learn more, there's a lot of information on this website, with facts and figures, where you can donate to a worthwhile cause. Let me know if you make any changes and how it goes, I'm interested to see how many people care as much as I do. Love, L.

Where I Long To Be and Why I’m Not Ready To Settle Down

The tallest piece of rock I have ever jumped off in my life and it's for sure that I will never be doing anything that high again.

I'm 23 and Josh is 27, we bought our first property last year where we currently live with my Gran and we had hoped to be looking at buying our own place in the very near future. However, since I returned from Santorini I've had butterflies in my stomach. Not because I want to return to the beautiful idyllic island but because I realised how much there is out there that I want to see for myself. I'm not sure I want to settle down right now and this is a conversation we keep going over and over, back and forth. I get it, he wants a sense of security, our own space, somewhere that's ours but with that comes a hell of a lot of responsibility, bills, cut backs, less of a social life and I guess some would call it 'the real world'. I have endless conversations with people at work and they tell me just to go travelling but of course you need money for that and if we ever returned (not that I'd plan on it), we'd be in the same position we are in now so would it really be worthwhile going? The idea of travelling and buying a house plays on my mind constantly. One day I can't wait to have my own space, an actual wardrobe, my very own pet dog, cooking dinner for friends etc. etc. and then the next day all I can think about is driving around on a motorbike with salty hair, eating street food, stroking stray dogs, not worrying about what time you have to get up for work because you need money so desperately to have a life but just having enough money to get by and live. I feel as though there is SO much pressure on us "kids" to settle down, get married, start a family, have a proper job and know what you want in life. The world has changed in so many ways, everything is so much more accessible and you could argue that's a bad thing but it makes that traditional mind set of settling down so hard to just accept. I'm sick of having to work to earn just enough to cover a roof over my head, to only go away and see the world once or twice a year. Why this is the norm I have no idea! Life isn't about making as much money as you can and coming home to watch Emmerdale. It's about so much more and I'm so ready to pack my bags and leave this way of life behind - just need enough money first, lol. The only thing that scares me about ever emigrating would be that I could never afford to return home to see my Gran. Sorry for the rant but I've had it playing on my mind for f*cking ages and I'd really appreciate your views on this situation or any interesting stories, regrets, bad/good decisions.... Lots of love, L.

My Favourite Skincare Products

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If you haven't seen me constantly moan about the way my skin has been the past couple of years then where have you been? I don't know what happened but ever since I left college and began adult life, my skin has been an absolute nightmare. Two years ago I suffered with really bad eczema around my mouth and it took almost a year to get it cleared up. I used various products and steroid creams that the Dr prescribed but nothing seemed to shift it and most of the time it made it flair up even more. I also had really bad pimples all over my chin, which were disgusting and was a really low point for me. I'd stare at myself in my magnified mirror and pop them all, making the situation 100 times worse but hey, nothin' like squeezing a spot is there?!

For me, having beautiful skin is a huge confidence booster. I would love not to wear make up and add only a little bronzer, eyebrow gel and maybe a touch of highlight for work but at the moment I'm still getting small bumps, particularly on the right hand side of my face which is a little weird. I've managed to control it a lot and I think the key to that is drinking more water, removing make up and allowing your skin to breathe. I'm forever trying out different products in hopes that one day I find the one but there are so many factors that count towards healthy, glowing, spot-free skin. So here are my favourite skincare products at the moment, tried and tested by moi.

Garnier rose water toner

Every morning before applying my make up and every evening before showering to remove my make up. I love this stuff. It makes my face feel so clean and I love the smell of it. Plus, I think it's half price at the moment too!

Mario Badescu facial spray

Again, I use this product morning and night. Before applying my make up for the day but after using the Garnier rose water toner and again in the evening after my shower. I'm on my 2nd bottle which I bought in Liberty's back in December, it lasts a long time and is so refreshing! You can also use it after applying make up too to help set it.

Nuxe lip balm

This goes everywhere and anywhere with me. Honestly, I don't think I'd have been able to survive without this stuff the past year or so. It has been a god send! Where I work has dried my skin out massively, which I think started my eczema off. It's only a small tub but it lasts forever, you only need the smallest amount on your finger and it seems to last most of the day.

Bio oil

You're probably wondering why this is on the list but I swear by this little bottle. I apply it every now and again, maybe three times a week to my face. I have a few scares from spots I have picked, squeezed, play with... all the things you do with spots you shouldn't and this bio oil has helped reduce the scaring on my face by a hell of a lot. I love it and this is another products that smells bloody divine!

Body Shop tea tree facial wash

My friend bought me this for my birthday and I've only recently started using it in the shower after scrubbing with my St Ives. I love the smell of tea tree although I know many people don't like the smell. To me, it screams clean and I love the tingling sensation I get on my cheeks when I rub it in but just be careful not to get it in your eye because trust me it stings.

St Ives pink lemon and mandarin orange scrub

I have tried every single St Ives scrub and although I love every one in a different way, the pink lemon and mandarin one is a firm favourite. It has the right amount of grittiness to it, so it's a little more gentle than the apricot scrub (although I do like to use this one every now and again when I feel as though my skin needs an extra cleanse) and the smell is be-au-tiful! I use this almost every day as it's perfect for daily use.

This Week

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Hey there! How are ya? Thought I'd check in here seeing as though it's been a short while. Not long now until we go away, well 9 days but still.. I have so much to do but I don't think I have everything yet. I've been prepping myself so I've been on the sun beds twice already and I think I will go another two times before we fly on Friday evening. My brother is currently lying on our sofa, he can't walk from an injury at football so I will drive him home soon and take him to the doctor's tomorrow.. Josh has only just recovered from his injury that happened at football this weekend too! I don't think they were built for that sport, maybe they should take up boules or something, haha! Last night we watched 'me before you' and it was brilliant. I haven't watched a good tear jerker like that one for a while and now I want to see the sequel to it, 'after you' but it isn't on Netflix yet 🙁 The plan for tomorrow is to focus on our design's for Meesoon and get the ball rolling for that and then pack a suitcase, gym, snack, you know, the usual! Speak again soon, L.

Leeds Bound

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Throwback to Christmas Eve with my bestie <3

Morning loves! How have you been lately? Today I'm going to Leeds to spend the night with my best friend, Bethany! She moved there with her boyfriend, Eddy after finishing university. I think I've only been to Leeds once when I was really young but I don't remember it much, so I'm excited to spend the day eating and drinking! 🙂 It is SO cold here, again! Just when I thought that Spring had finally arrived, it was all a lie! So I have my thermal on, with a turtle neck and I'm going to wear my blanket scarf to stay warm because I'm catching the train from Dent which is in the middle of nowhere and Josh has to drop me off early so he can get to football in time and I'm not sure they have a waiting room?! I really hope so though! Anyway, enjoy your Easter weekend, hope it's a good one! Love, L.

We Speak More Than Ever

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I don't live with my parents so usually when we are at home I don't see them or speak to them very often. Now that they are in Thailand I think I've spoken more to my brother than I have done all year, haha! I like that the two of us are close, even though he annoys the hell out of me most of the time. We Facetimed around an hour ago and they were on Khao San Road eating Pad Thai, one of my favourite dishes to eat whilst I'm out there because quite frankly, nowhere does it better than those street vendors. Although, Wagamama's does a pretty delicious one but it's still just not the same. One thing I'd recommend to do in Thailand if anything at all is to eat the street food and eat as the locals would. We never eat in restaurants unless we fancy a McDonald's or another fast food chain, however that's something I'm trying to steer away from this year. Most of the time we buy our food from the local markets and it doesn't cost very much at all, in fact you could eat a pretty decent meal for around 150 baht, that's about £3, amazing right?! Anyway, enough on Thailand because I feel like I'm turning green with envy... Today I had an early finish and since then I've pretty much done naff all so I'm going to get off my bottom and gym for an hour, then tonight all I want to do is have a bath and relax because the clocks go forward tonight which means one less hour in bed 🙁 Love, L.