Tuesday, 31 January 2017

5 Books in 5 Words #6

5 mini book reviews

Gosh darn it I do love this series, so why don't I do it more often? Well life has gotten in the way stopping me from reading. But as I'm working on my work/life balance this year, I pinky promise that they will become more frequent. Anyway, if you have no idea what this post is about let me fill you in. I always want to share what I've been reading with you all but am a little bit scared of doing a full blown review in case I let it slip Bob is actually Ethel's brother and didn't die when they were little, and is now holding a grudge so murdered Timmy. So, to combat my spoiler alert fear I thought I'd do mini book reviews, in 5 words each. You can't spoil a book in 5 words surely? Let's hope not. 

The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell
Chick Lit that's actually good.

When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen
Amazing. Similar to Gone Girl.

The Vanishing Witch by Karen Maitland
Slow historical that's slightly boring.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This is worth the hype.

Peggy & Me by Miranda
Funny memoir for animal lovers.

What have you been reading? I'm really into thrillers at the moment so would love your recommendations.
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Sunday, 29 January 2017

How to have the perfect Galentines Day

galentines day girls night in

All the single ladies, all the single ladies, all the single ladies, now put your hands up. If you didn't just sing that, what is wrong with you?! For those wondering why I'm suddenly breaking into song like a High School Musical wannabe, the answer is Valentine's Day, and more importantly IMO, Galentines Day. Being single in February can bring out the award turtle in all of us. Everything seems to be catered towards even numbers, and nothing can bring an Independent Woman (I'll stop soon, promise) down than when the psychic checkout staff give you that look when you buy a romantic meal for two, to share with your dog. But fear not there is a new holiday in town; Galentines Day. Usually on February 13th, it's a day to get the girl gang together and celebrate all things girl power and friendship. To be honest, after the recent Womens Marches across the globe, I don't think that there could be a better time to get together and celebrate how kick-ass we are. 

To me, nothing says Galentines Day than a girls night in. No idea where to start? Here's a couple of suggestions to help you on your way.

  • Galentines Day happens to fall on a Monday night, but don't let that spoil your fun. Plan round commitments and choose something that suits everyone. Grab lunch together, go to the cinema straight after work or get a takeaway and pop a DVD on. Pitch Perfect is my go to. Whatever you do, it's about making time for each other and celebrating you.
  • Valentines Day isn't just about your BFF's. Don't forget to get your mum, grandma and co-workers in on the act too. Celebrate all those amazing women who support you and have your back. To be honest, don't even keep Galentines Day to your female friends. Make sure you include your wingmen, because let's face it, they're pretty great too!
  • It doesn't have to cost the earth. Even though pay day has been, if you're still feeling the pinch, or just want to save a few pennies, don't think this rules you out. Have a pamper night with each of you bringing something along. I really rate 7th Heaven and their masks always go down a treat on nights in. They do an amazing range of face masks including self-heating Hot Spring Sauna Masque (*),  Dead Sea Sheet Masque (*) and Black Seaweed Peel-off (*). But don't think it's just you're face in for a treat. I've recently discovered the Strengthening Nail & Cuticle Finger Masks (*), which are perfect for a pre-manicure treatment and, thanks to the Argan Oil Rescue Masque (*), my hair has never been in better condition. With such a huge range you're bound to find something to suit everyone. 
  • All your nearest and dearest a million miles away? You don't have to be in the same room, or continent, to celebrate your friendship. Schedule a Skype date and talk about all your favourite memories together. Nothing says "thank you for watching endless Dance Moms repeats and eating too many tubs of Ben & Jerry's with me" than a giggle and catch-up with the girls.
  • And last but not least, turn of your phones. Unless you're skyping on your phone because that just bursts everyones bubble. But shut out all those everyday distractions, and dedicate whatever time you do have to each other. Because after all, Tinder can wait. 
So that's how I'm going to be spending my Galentine's Day. What about you? Let me know in the comments below. 
xoxo
J
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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Wish List : Designer Bags

top designer handbags 2017


If, like me, you're on a spending ban, I'm sorry. Lately I've been really lusting after a new designer bag to add to my collection. Maybe it's because I know I can't get one (self-inflicted spending ban for NYC), or maybe it's just January taking it's toll, but I feel like I need to expand my collection slightly.  If you haven't guess bags are my thing. I haven't bought a new designer bag in over a year so let's face it, it's only a matter of time until I break. So today I thought I'd share with you 8 bags that I happen to have bookmarked. Like, I said, sorry in advance. 

Top left to bottom right
Soho leather disco bag - Gucci - £715.00
Sofia Clutch - Rebecca Minkoff - £211.89
Medium Lily in Oxblood Deep Embossed Croc Print - Mulberry - £945.00
Classic Medium Kate Monogram Tassel Satchel in Fog Leather - Saint Laurent - £1390.00
Swagger 21 in mixed materials canyon quilt - Coach - £475
2.55 Flap Bag in Grained Calfskin & Gold-Tone Metal - Chanel - £3990.00
Red Large Perspex Lips Clutch - Lulu Guinness - £275.00
Faye small leather shoulder bag in Cloudy blue - Chloe - £930.00

Are you lusting after anything at the moment?
xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Honey Island Swamp

Honey Island Swamp
Honey Island Swamp

Before we left Louisiana, we had one last stop to make at Dr. Wagner's Honey Island Swamp Tour . This was the activity I was most excited for, but as we pulled up at the dock, the rain started to pour. Not deterred by the weather, we pressed on and jumped into the boats, thankfully there was a covering to keep us dry. There's something eerie about a swamp on the best of days, but a swamp in the rain is something else. We past floating huts used by fisherman and hunters, and kept our eyes peeled, trying to catch the first glimpse of what we'd all come to see.

Honey Island Swamp
Honey Island Swamp
Honey Island SwampHoney Island Swamp

Luckily for us we didn't have to go far into the swamp  until we found two alligators. And just like that the rain stopped. Amazingly, we'd bumped into the big man himself, the alpha male known as "Big Whoppa" (I didn't name him ok), along with one of his girlfriends. Our guide explained that there's only one male in an area, and this was the first sighting of Big Whoppa all week so we were all feeling pretty lucky. As the gators swam closer and our nervous laughter got a little louder, our guide went on to say normally Alligators are terrified of humans. Apparently people kayak in the swamp, and when they bump into a gator panic because the gator splashes. The splash is the gator swimming away. They only swim to the tour boats because there like floating ice cream vans to them. So what's an alligators treat of preference? Hot dog and marshmallows. Right. 

Honey Island Swamp
Honey Island Swamp
Honey Island Swamp
Honey Island Swamp
Honey Island SwampHoney Island Swamp 
Honey Island Swamp

Feeling darn smug that we'd already seen two Alligators, we headed further into the Bayou. From Spanish Moss to tiny little Turtles, all the wildlife was explained to us. We even caught a rare glimpse of the Honey Island Monster, a local version of Big Foot. As we travelled further down the river I was so surprised by how close some people lived. A mixture of sinking shacks and luxury mansions, I'm not sure I'd be so brave as to have a Gator infested swamp at the bottom of my garden, no matter how scared of humans they are.

Once back on dry land, we made the long journey to Florida, just managing to miss Tropical Storm Hermine.

xoxo
J

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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Anna Saccone Horoscope Necklace Unboxing




Jewellery and bags are two things I will invest in. They are my complete weakness and I can't help picking up a couple of new pieces each year. I watch the Saccone Joly vlogs all the time, and fell in love with Anna's necklace. It was so classic and timeless, but personal at the same time; something my collection needed. Of course when I found out that Anna actually had her own range on Stilnest.com, it was quickly added to my 'to buy' list. And I bought it. 

The story behind Anna's collection is that she actually inherited her Scorpio necklace from her dad. Partly because everyone was asking Anna where she picked her necklace up, and partly in the hope that others will use the necklace with the same significance, her jewellery collection was born.

The necklace arrives in a classic black gift box, with a postcard featuring a photograph of Anna and her father, and the story of the collection. The necklace itself is in it's own individual box which can then be used for storage. Being born on 4th July, I'm Cancer. I have this weird thing with my horoscope/star sign. My horoscope is always, without fail, accurate.  I know some people don't believe in it, but with mine ringing true so many times, I can't help but believe, so my star sign is definitely a part of me. I opted for the classic silver necklace opposed to a bracelet (gold and rose gold options available) with the medium chain length. I love that you can personalise it by colour and chain length, truly making this piece you own. It does take a couple of weeks to arrive, but it's so worth the wait. Whilst not the cheapest of items, I think it is such good value, and would make a perfect gift for someone, especially if it was a memorable occasion like a graduation, birth or 'big' birthday. 

I'm completely smitten with my new necklace. How accurate is your horoscope?
xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Putting Super Foods On My Face? || Rodial Stemcell Super-Food Kit

Rodial skincare kit

I love brand discovery kits. You know those gift sets that have little mini's of a whole range, system, or just the bestsellers? I love that you get to really try something without having to commit to a full size product, find out if any of the products work for you and try things you and potentially discover a new staple. One kit I've been incorporating into me skincare regime is the Rodial Stemcell Super-Food Discovery Set. Rodial is a brand that's been on my radar for a while. Loved by the likes of Kylie Jenner, it combines the latest technology and ingredients to deliver pretty hyped products. I mean, how can you not want to try the Dragon's blood range, or their Instaglam makeup range? Anyway, back to the Stemcell super-food range, aimed to nourish skin with a whole host of omegas and vitamins to target treat dry skin.

The set includes:
  • A 50ml sample of Stem Cell Super-Food Cleanser. I think out of all four of the products, this is my ultimate favourite. The super rich cream melts into your skin and removes every trace of makeup. Since I've been using it my skins become glowy and really cleared up making it the perfect cleanser. The only negative I could find is that it's got a very subtle rose scent, but, honestly, it's so subtle rose-haters (I know you're out there) will have no issue whatsoever. 
  • A 10ml sample of Stem Cell Super-Food Facial Oil. I'm a complete sucker for anything with that has a pipette. It just takes me back to science lessons at school, and its just a bit different really. This superstar non-greasy serum is basically like an energy drink for your skin. Once massaged into your skin, it's absorbed instantly, giving hydration, reducing wrinkles, and basically giving your skin a nice treat.
  • A 20ml sample of Stem Cell Super-Food Day Cream SPF 15. If I were to choose one item I was slightly underwhelmed by, this would be it. Its said to be an illuminating moisturiser but to be honest, I didn't see the added glow. Packing an amazing combo of Goji Berry, Pomegranate Extract, Rose Hip Seed Oil and Wheat Germ Oil, my skin was hydrated and as nourished as it could be, it just didn't deliver up to expectations. 
  • A 10m sample of Stem Cell Glam Balm Multi. If a brand were to have one iconic product, this would be Rodial's. With over 100 different uses (yep, that wasn't a typo. Three figures), this is that product you need to keep in your bag for just in case. From using it on flights to mixing it with blush to create a stain, this product is a do-it-all, and I love it!

I have absolutely fallen in love with Rodial. I am desperate to try the Dragon's Blood range and know for a fact I will be purchasing the Stem Cell Super-Food Cleanser as a full size. 

Do you have any Rodial recommendations for me?
xoxo
J
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Thursday, 12 January 2017

Boxing Day Sales Haul 2016

sales haulsales haul
sales haul
sales haul
sales haul

I'm trying to save some money this year for a couple of different things (car, house deposit, travel) so didn't really want to go all out in the sales. I tend to sales shop from the comfort of my own home, all cosied up with the heating on, wrapped in a blanket, munching on buffet food as I click. 

This year I spent a ridiculous amount of time waiting for the Lush Sale. Now I know the poor Lush staff have to put up with a lot during the sale, which really isn't fair as they're just doing their job and it is only bath products, but seriously?! You would have thought that by now, Lush would have realised that not realising a start time and updating prices one by one, whilst people were shopping wouldn't end in praise. Anyway, after sticking it out I managed to stock up on some bath bombs filling my bath bomb jar up to the top. 

Whilst waiting for Lush I had a mooch on the ASOS site but nothing really caught my eye. I did make a sneaky order for this two-toned across-body bag though. I am such a fan of across-body bags for nights out and this one has so much space thanks to having two separate zip compartments. Continuing my searching, I also picked up the 2 part Beauty bag from Cath Kidston. I'd had my eye on a 2 part beauty bag for ages because they are so amazing for travelling. Heading to the States with me, I'm going to put my toiletries in one half, and my makeup in another so everything is nice and organisd.

Apart from what's pictured, I ordered some New Balance trainers but when I tried them on, they weren't as cushioned as I'd hoped so have be returned. I'm looking for a super comfy pair for New York, knowing I'll be walking miles trying to see as much as possible. If anyone has any suggestions I'd be very grateful!

Did you get anything in the sales?
xoxo
J
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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

24 Hours in NOLA

New Orleans
New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans
New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans


I have never experienced humidity like that in New Orleans. Still suffering from a virus, but determined to see some of the city, I decided to jump on a hop-on-hop-off tour bus as a less sweaty alternative to walking. Not only did I manage to avoid a massive thunderstorm, I also got to see so much of the city. Whilst we experienced Bourbon Street, with its loud and proud bars the night before, I thought it was time to see what else this city had to offer.

The tour bus took me past the Super Dome, and alongside the Mississippi River. We were then given a sneak peak inside Mardi Grais World, the workshop where they create spectacular floats and costumes for Mardi Grais, Disney, Universal and Hollywood. Next it was to the Garden District, where celebrities like Beyonce have homes. My inner architecture geek came out as we past row after row of perfectly instagramable, pastel houses with beautiful porches and balconies. The trees were full of tangled beads, where they have been thrown and got stuck during parades. On passing the Hurricane Katrina memorial our guide explained that the city is still re-building itself over 10 years later, with many buildings still standing empty. It was a sobering thought as we entered the French Quarter and saw the beautiful buildings around Jackson square. The final stop was St. Louis Cemetery #1, the oldest and most famous in New Orleans. Films such as Double Jeopardy and Easy Rider were filmed here whilst Nicolas Cage has purchased a tomb to be his future resting place. Also, if you love American Horror Story as much as me, Delphine LaLaurie and Marie Laveau are also supposed to rest here! 

Clearly there is more to Nola that beads after all ...

Make sure you follow me on bloglovin so you don't miss a single Trek Tuesday!

xoxo
J
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Sunday, 8 January 2017

8 Beauty Habits to Get Into. NOW!

8 beauty Basics

By now you're likely to have made an attempt to eat a few more vegetables, pledged to do Dry January, or even tried to squeeze past the hoards flocking to the local gym. You may have even booked a getaway somewhere, in which case please share, or started a new and exciting hobby. With all this newness (totally a word) going on, it's easy to forget the basics, things we know we should do, but just happen to skip past them in-between Netflix binging and blog reading. This year I've decided to strip my beauty regime back to the fundamentals and create habits I really ought to have picked up by now. So what are these habits? Well here they are:

  1. Clear Out. I do this. Or, to be more honest, I pretend to do this. I empty all my stash on to my bed, have a panic about where I'm going to sleep that night, and swiftly put things back, slightly tidier, with only one or two half used samples being culled. Sound familiar? No wonder we all dream of office come beauty rooms. But the scary thing is that my hoarding is probably one cause for the skin flair-ups I rant about on twitter. So from now on, every 3 months I'm doing a proper clear out. Unworn and still sealed but loved will be moved to the front, half used and collecting dust will be placed in the bin. Painful, but it's just got to be done. 
  2. Body Moisturiser. I don't know why I struggle with this, but I do. I will happily slap on serums and creams on my face, but unless it's a week before a holiday, a big event, or I'm procrastinating, I avoid moisturising anywhere else. I kind of take it for granted that my bath bombs and shower gels have moisturising ingredients in them and hope that's enough. It's not, and I need to stop being lazy. No one wants to hit 50 and look like a prune, so this is one habit that needs to be adopted. 
  3. Strip Bare.  Let's do a quiz. You're exhausted from work, have managed to cook something to eat, crawl into your PJ's and just want to relax but remember you have a face full of make-up? Do you a) skip to the bathroom to use whatever wonder product you can find, b) quickly drag some skin-ruining face wipe across your face hoping you won't look like a panda in the morning, c) stare longingly into Ryan Gosling's eyes. Yep. Me too. Sometimes I'm really good, and remove my make-up before bed, and on those days I feel like I have my life together. Other days I'm such a human sloth I'm surprised I even make it to my bed. I fully accept sloth-girl is going to make an appearance now and again, but it would be nice to feel like I'm an adult a bit more too. 
  4. Water I'm weird. I tried to explain it to the company I'm interning at at the moment and they just didn't understand. For some reason, I just don't drink. Like, most people don't drink enough, but I don't drink at all. Obviously, that's not good. Unless you're a camel, in which case, carry on. I've just bought a new fancy dancy water bottle with the times up the side (here) and I'm challenging myself to drink more. I'm not going to lie, it's going to take some worth, but think of the clear skin and you'll soon be slurping. 
  5. Protect. Living in the UK, and specifically a city that is known for rain and not sun, I tend to overlook SPF, even in summer. So a lot of make-up now has SPF in making it a lazy girl's dream, but, being of the fair and freckly gang, I think I need to paying more attention to this. It's not just SPF though! Heat protection spays clutter my room unused because it's another step I just forget to do. Unless you want it to fry and frizz, have a spritz. 
  6. Routine So so basic, but I need to get into a consistent routine. I think that's the key word, routine. I'll do a perfect regime for maybe 2 to 3 weeks, and then it will slowly fall away to what I'm in the mood for. Now, everyone knowns skincare takes time to have an effect so now and again attempts are helping nobody.
  7. No Wash. I was my hair too much. There. I said it. I know why I do it, it's from the teenage fears of having greasy hair and I've just never gotten out of it. On weekdays I will wash my hair daily, maybe skipping a day at a weekend if I'm justing round the house. Although I do use a daily shampoo which is less harsh than other shampoos, it will still strip my hair of natural oils and dry it out. A hard habit to get into but I'll give it ago.
  8. Nail It. Nail care. Does anyone do both a base and a top coat? I'd like to pretend I do, but realistically, its one or the other, and usually just a topcoat if it's not a gel effect. I always moan that my nails aren't as healthy as I like, and this is the reason. Just one extra step can't be so hard right?
So those are my new 8 Beauty Habits? Have I missed any off?
xoxo
J
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Thursday, 5 January 2017

10 Sales Steals under £20


Sales a tricky little thing. You've spent a load of money on Christmas and don't want to spend anymore for a while, but on the other hand you don't want to miss out on a bargain. With the majority of stores not even waiting until Christmas to announce their sale, it's no wonder people find dealing with sales a bit too much. As my inbox was getting filled with discount announcements I thought it was about time I had a little look and select my favourite fashion bargains. 

Silver Turtleneck Plisse Midi Dress - £38 now £17 River Island
Cream Stud Embellished Bodysuit - £28 now £12 River Island
Black Stripe Wrap Front Dress - £19.99 now £9 New Look
Blue Contrast Elasticated Strap Heels - £24.99 now £11 New Look
Metallic Scallop Clutch Bag - £10 now £7 ASOS
Black Floral Print Plunge Jumpsuit - £48 £20 now £15 River Island
Dark Red Mesh Stripe Midi Skater Skirt - £27.99 now £11 New Look
Black Mesh and Lace Skater Dress - £50 now £20 River Island
Grey Patent Contrast Perspex Flared Heeled Sandals - £29.99 now £11 New Look
Black Floral Chiffon Midi Dress - £45 now £15 River Island
Black Bead Embellished Bomber Jacket - £50 £20 now £15 River Island

What sales steals have you spotted?
xoxo
J

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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Why I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day (& How To Make It Happen!)

christmas everyday

With twelfth night quickly approaching (5th FYI), twinkling fairy lights and glistening baubles are being packed away for another year. Festive wrapping paper has long been put in the bin and the only thing your Christmas jumper is keeping warm is the dust bunnies. All that's left is January Blues to hit you harder than Miley Cyrus on construction equipment. It's not going to be a pretty sight. So why do we have to go through this annual misery like its some sort of community service initiative, everyone mopping around, heads down and wearing a frown? Why can't it just be Christmas every day?

You can't blame me really, can you? I mean, it's not often that people can smile to strangers on the bus, and have something exciting to look forward to every day. After a month of daily chocolate and beauty surprises, how is January supposed to be anything but a huge disappointment? Apart from Pinterest-transformation everywhere seems to undergo, Christmas is about an endless supply of positivity, happiness and family time. During the other 11 (10 if you push it) months of the year, you're unlikely to spend so much time with your friends and family because you will be doing stuff. Boring grown-up life stuff that everyone has to be do, but no-one enjoys. But at Christmas, all that stuff if forgotten until the new year, giving you more time for fun. Office parties, family meals, christmas markets, the opportunities are endless. Until the fun police come back to work on January and normal life resumes. And do we even need to mention the sparkles? At no time of the year is it more acceptable than to wear glitter from head to toe. And be considered perfectly sane. This is the world I want to live in.

So how am I going to say goodbye to Christmas? I'm not. I'm going channel my inner-elf every single day and this is how you can too:

  1. Take time out to relax with friends and family as much as you can. Arrange meals, nights in, nights out. Just organise it and be filled with cheer.
  2. See the positive in everything. You're too broke to go out this January? Take time to relax with a good book, or get your friends round for a board game. 
  3. Smile. Ditch your resting bitch face and spread some joy. 
  4. Say yes to every opportunity. You know why you have a good time at Christmas? Because you fill the month with fun things. And how to do you fill a month? You say yes to things. Easy right?
How are you making Christmas last all year round?
xoxo
J
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Sunday, 1 January 2017

Why You Should Make Goals, Not Resolutions (& 5 of My Own!)


Happy New Year everyone! I don't think I've ever been happier to say goodbye to 2016. I've had quite a few rough years on the trot but you do have to admit 2016 was bad. There were some good times, but I'm happy to have a nice fresh start. Anyway, it's 1st January and everyone is talking about a 'new year, new me', making new year's resolutions about things they want to achieve in 2017; and I'm no exception. I know some people don't see the point in resolutions because a lot of people don't achieve them, but that's why I prefer to see them as goals. 

So why goals? Well goals are things you are aiming for. You may not reach them in a year, but you will hopefully get closer. Resolutions have always sounded quite harsh to me, like you suddenly wake up in 2017 a new person; it just doesn't happen. Goals on the other hand are things you work towards; they're flexible, they progress as you progress and their is no set timescale or pressure. Like resolutions, I always feel a sense of achievement when I've reached a goal. Whether it be blogging or personal, achieving a goal is like having your name read out in a school assembly, you've reached the next level. As soon as you've ticked a goal off, you want to tick another off; success is addictive and a rather effective motivator. That's why it's important to make goals measurable and achievable. It sounds obvious, but if you make a goal measurable, then you know when it's been achieved and you can then update the goal to the 2.0 version. Everyone want's to be "more confident", but coming up with something that will show that you are more confident (e.g. travelling alone, public speaking ...), will give you something more concrete to aim for, and that shiny successful feeling when you reach it. Similarly, making a goal achievable will give you more motivation to reach it. Think short-term and long-term. You might have one main long-term goal, but come up with 1+ smaller goals that will show you that you're closer to achieving it. So you want to get fitter and decide you will run a marathon, but have never done any running before. Setting yourself mini goals of running 5k and 10k will show you how much progress you've made when the novelty wears off and keep you moving towards that long-term goal. People tend to try to run before they can walk (hehe) but using mini goals makings you ultimate aim achievable long-term. Like I said, success is the best motivator, so do yourself a favour a make goals and not resolutions this year. 

If you're still trying to think of some goals for 2017, here's a few of my own for inspo:
  1. Run 5K (so I can be fitter)
  2. Take part in a Twitter Chat at least once a week (so I'm part of the Blogger Community)
  3. Build up my credit score (so I can buy my own place)
  4. Keep my university assessment average up (so I can graduate with my MSc degree and get a dream Marketing job)
  5. Save £100 month (so I can buy a Fiat 500)
What are your goals for next year?
xoxo
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