Friday, 25 November 2016

What Are You Thankful For?

 Yesterday was Thanksgiving across the pond and it is a holiday that I definitely wish we had here in the UK. I've never underestimated the power of being thankful, but sometimes I think it's far too easy to focus on the negatives. Whilst I was at uni, I started up a gratitude journal so that I could remember to be thankful at least once a day, and nearly two years later I am so thankful for this little journal that stays beside my bed!

I am thankful for the fact that I have a job, a car so I can get to this job and a warm home. I am thankful that everyday there is food on the table, and that this is not a worry for me. I am thankful that my parents have welcomed Dan and I back into my family home so we can save for a deposit to buy our own house. I am thankful to even have this opportunity when so many others do not even have a family home.

I am thankful for Dan, my best friend. I am thankful that he puts up with my awful moods, and my unhappiness at times. I am thankful that he is always there to lift me up, make me laugh and make me feel safe. I am thankful for his kindness, and his passion. I am thankful that we found each other at such a young age and that we have been given so many amazing opportunities to see the world together!

I am thankful for my wonderful family, all of whom are so supportive. I am thankful for the love my parents have always given me and my sister, and the fact that we are incredibly close as a family. I am thankful for my younger sister who is like a best friend to me. I am thankful that I have all four of my fantastic grandparents, at the age of 23 this is a rare and wonderful thing. I am thankful for their kindness, wisdom and their instant ability to make me laugh and cheer me up! I am thankful for my wider family, and the connection we all have.

I am thankful for my wonderful friends. The friends who have accepted me for me, who lift me up and who help me to deal with my anxiety. I am especially grateful for the friends who are there to listen to my embarassing stories which should definitely NOT be shared on this blog. I am thankful for the support they give me when things are tough, and the hilarious times we've had.

I am thankful for being born in the UK, for all of it's flaws. I am thankful that I wake up, and I do not hear the sound of explosions and see the signs of warfare. I am thankful that I was born in a country where I largely have an insane amount of freedom. I am thankful that I am not living in fear because of war and poverty.

What Are You Thankful For?


Friday, 18 November 2016

Book Review | How Not To Travel The World by Lauren Juliff

 How Not To Travel The World is one of those books that you literally devour in days, but find yourself still thinking about it weeks later. I'm only days after finishing it but I know that this book is going to stick with me; I couldn't get enough! Lauren Juliff is a woman from near London, who packed up her bags five years ago to go travelling...and she still hasn't made it back to London permanently - incredible!

I've been following Lauren's blog for a little while now, and just before my birthday I noticed she'd written a book. It went straight onto my birthday list and my lovely parents kindly picked it up for me. I'm so grateful because this book was even better than I knew it was going to be!

I laughed (and I laughed so hard that my cheeks hurt!) and I cried. I felt anxious, but also really empowered. Mostly though, I felt like packing my life into a backpack and just going. Which is so very unlike me. Lauren's story was inspiring; at 23 years old after years of dreaming about it, she packed up and started her year of travelling in Eastern Europe. As someone with severe anxiety, this was especially challenging and reading about her journey inspired me.

Lauren describes the countries she visited in the most amazing way, and it was almost like I was there myself! The only downside to reading the book was the fact that it highlighted to me even further that I wasn't travelling and seeing the world myself, as much as I'd like to be! I would love to be brave enough to just say "Yes" and explore the fascinating and exotic places that Lauren travelled to herself.

If you are someone who loves reading about travel, this is the book for you. Lauren is honest, and realistic about her travels. She does not pretend that her life was a dream for that first year, travelling alone and travelling with anxiety is bound to be tough. What she does do however, is recognise the amazing opportunity she had and used her travels a way to better herself, and broaden her horizons which is really what it's all about.

How Not To Travel The World is one to pick up if you've ever wanted to travel - even if you aren't necessarily keen on doing it by hostels. I felt inspired, and I know that this is a book I'm going to read more than just once!

Have you ever read How Not To Travel The World?

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Back On Track

Isn't it amazing how a weekend of doing very little can completely change your outlook on everything? This weekend I went for brunch, read my book, had a bath, blogged and relaxed. We also sorted out our room completely and changed the layout around. This is something we've wanted to do for ages but had been putting off. It actually feels like a huge weight had been lifted as opposed to it being strenuous! I feel so much more rested....

In the recent weeks, I've wanted to blog so badly but there's always been something else. I've not been able to find the words, or I've been catching up with the TV programmes that are on at the moment. My instagram had been left for about two weeks, despite me still occasionally posting on twitter. I adore social media, but I've just found it too draining recently.

As it gets colder, and darker,  my body finds it harder to cope. I am so much more tired, and like most people find the coldness more challenging to do most things. I would rather be wrapped up in a blanket with a good book than trying to find the inspiration to write an inspiring piece of content. No matter how much I enjoy blogging, I don't think I have been in a consistent routine for more than two months for about 18 months now.  It really really bugs me, but the motivation to do anything about it never comes. So I'm taking a step back, and I'm going to go with the flow more.

I have about 16 posts in my drafts which I'm never quite happy with, yet I just can't bear to delete them. I worked hard on those posts, despite them not living up to my standards. It's super easy to compare yourself to other people and that's probably why some of those posts are still sitting in my drafts, with dust gathering on them. Eventually, I know I will post them but yet again I struggle with the fact that I've not done anything with them yet.

Despite all of this, I'm learning. It's absolutely fine not to post more than you feel like doing so. If that's once a week, or twice a day - that's all down to you. Maybe I just need to focus on the fact that I began this blog so I could remember all the things I got up to in my early twenties, rather than thinking of it as yet another place to be marked against my peers and friends. I think I'm finally back on track with where I want Suitcase and Sandals to be heading; it's always going to be somewhere for me to reflect on the good times, an escape from the things that stress me out.

Does blogging sometimes get on top of you? Do you find it hard to remember the reason why you began to blog in the first place?
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