It was my 30th birthday on Friday 14th October and I was beyond spoilt. I was made to feel so special by my wonderful friends and family and had such a lovely day. I mention it a couple of times throughout the video but this is not me showing off. We are a very humble family when it comes to gifts and usually opt for making memories by doing things together rather than lavish presents. However, this year it was a bit of a milestone. Turning thirty has always been such a special idea to me and everyone went all out. So I just wanted to share the lovely things that I was given with you. I love watching these videos for inspiration and because they are my guilty pleasure. I hope you like it?

If you did, click on the video title. This will take you to the video on my YouTube channel where you can give the video a thumbs up, leave a comment (let’s talk!) and by clicking the red ‘subscribe’ button (which is free) you can keep up to date with my video’s.

Big Love,

-Ria x

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My Sunday Photo

I know that this photograph isn’t clear, crisp or in any way perfect… but this is me and my Dad at my 30th birthday on Friday. It came from us talking about when he held me thirty years ago as a fresh newborn. And off the cuff, he said, ‘Let’s do it again!’

So thirty years on and much heavier than I was back then, my dad scooped me up for a photograph for the memory book. It was funny, we laughed and then I rested my head on his shoulder, giggling like I’m sure I have plenty of times over the years.

I love this photograph so much (even though, he is never allowed to do it again because he suffers a bad back sometimes!)

I’m glad we managed to get this one. It’s a perfect picture to start a new chapter of memory making.

With Love,

-Ria x

 

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My 30th Birthday

I have started writing this from the comfort of my bed on a grey but brightening Saturday morning. Saturday the 15th of October, the day after my 30th birthday. I feel content, in a sleepy bliss from the lovely day that I had before.

I woke up first, in the dark and I lay there with my thoughts. Thoughts about turning thirty. My sister calls these the ‘who gives a f*ck’ years and after spending many years caring a little too much about what people might think, might say or might do, I’m over it. I’m finally confident enough in myself to just be happy with who I am, the decisions and no doubt, the mistakes that I make. It’s empowering!

So anyway, there I was, alone with my thoughts… being all thirty and that. Waiting in the silence to suddenly feel like a grown up. For the mental clarity to wash over me and make me wiser, sophisticated, mature. I didn’t!

I could feel a new chapter begin though. I could feel the excitement in the pit of my stomach for all of the memory making opportunities ahead of me. Me and Matt. Me, Matt and ‘The Children’. I may not have felt much wiser or sophisticated… but I did feel different.

I did wake up feeling a little like ‘I Don’t Give A F*ck!’

I did ponder how far I have come in my years. I was that girl once, with little to no confidence. I was that girl who walked hunched over to blend in. I was that girl who people tried to tear down. I was that girl who was afraid. I was that girl who doubted my worth in most things that I did. I was that girl who didn’t go for any of the things that I wanted. I was that girl who smiled to conceal any real emotion. I was that girl who was naive. I was that girl who had her heart broken. I was that girl who had her heart broken again. I was that girl who had her heart broken again still.

And then I started to give myself the credit that I deserve. Because I am not that girl anymore. I haven’t been for a long while.

I am that girl who has picked myself up, brushed myself off and faked my confidence until it started to become real. I am that girl who will walk tall now. I am that girl who yes, is her own worst critic… but I won’t let myself be torn apart from spite. I am that girl with fears and worries just like every human being and that is okay. I am a girl who knows my worth. I am that girl who knows exactly what I want and I will work hard at making my dreams come true. I am that girl who smiles because I am genuinely happy. I am that girl who is naive because I want to see the best in everything and everyone and that too, is okay. I am that girl who may or may not have my heart broken again. I am that girl who survived it a few times. I am that girl who is stronger now, a fighter but more importantly, I am a lover, a forgiver, a learner and a better version of myself because of everything that has got me to this point. This person.

Nowadays, I am that girl who actually, is not a girl (and without sounding a bit like Britney Circa 2000) I am a woman.


And then, my thought process was muted by the swing of my bedroom door being banged in to my shiny, white wardrobe. Ellenah stood in the doorway, smiling so sweetly as her two pigtails draped loosely on her shoulders. I sat up and held my arms out for her. She fell into them saying ‘Happy Birthday Mama!’

Matt opened his eyes and blinked out the sleepiness. He looked handsome as always but like he had a bad night. If at all possible, for the few days before he looked more excited about my birthday than I did. ‘Happy 30th Birthday Ree!’ He croaked.

And then Noah came. He bulldozed in to the room, eyes wide with happiness and his infectious smile, beaming, ‘Happy Birthday Mama’ He sang.

And there were gifts and cards in bed. And I was very spoilt on ‘My 30th Birthday’. And I loved waking up, being with my most favourite people in the whole world. I felt so special.

My 30th Birthday


The next hour went by so fast. Uniforms flew everywhere, teeth were brushed, faces washed, breakfast gobbled and the school run was upon us. I said goodbye at the door, half ready for the day ahead and I missed them already.

My 30th Birthday

Matt came back quickly and whisked me off to breakfast in The City of Canterbury. We visited ‘The Skinny Kitchen’ which was literally incredible. There were friendly faces and chit-chat from the second we walked through the door. The decor was so cute and the menu was out of this world incredible. The Skinny Kitchen is a based around a nutritious, wholesome and healthy-eating menu to make you feel great.

My 30th Birthday

My 30th Birthday

Matt had steak, eggs, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes with a honey latte and I had smashed avocado on sour dough bread with chilli, black pepper and two poached eggs.

My 30th Birthday

My 30th Birthday

I had a date smoothie to go with it. We were so impressed and want to go back so desperately…and quickly. We thought that perhaps we would try out the evening menu next time and make a date out of it. We couldn’t recommend it enough to anyone in the area.

My 30th Birthday

Then we had a wonderful day of shopping and holding hands. It was kind of lovely.


Once we could shop no more, we went back home to collect the children from school who were both so excited to see me and continue the celebrations. It was so nice when I came back home to find a flower delivery from my best friend who lives in Southampton. It was such a stunning surprise and it hit me really hard how much I miss her because I haven’t seen her in such a long time.  And honestly, they were so beautiful, see for yourself…

My 30th Birthday

Matt did himself and me so proud and started preparing a Mexican Fiesta for my rather large family.

My first visitor was my biggest sister, Nicola and my nephew, Zack who have just moved back to the area after so many years away. It was a complete surprise. There were tears, hugs and we cracked opened the fizz.

My 30th Birthday

My 30th Birthday

And then the usual suspects filtered in. My Mum and Dad, My other siblings and their families. I was spoilt some more, more overwhelmed and just so excited to spend a part of the day with them all, because they mean so much to me.

My 30th Birthday

My 30th Birthday

We all laughed, had photographs taken, acted silly, ate cake and had a pretty epic time. It was simply perfect in every way. I didn’t want the night to end. I didn’t want everyone to go home.

My 30th Birthday

My 30th Birthday

My 30th Birthday

And so the day after, upon reflection of my milestone, one of importance,  I just wanted to say a big thank you for all of the kindness, birthday wishes, surprises, gifts and the most gorgeous friends and family a gal could ever ask for. I feel so grateful, emotional and overwhelmed. And not in the way of material things (as spoilt and thankful as I was and am). More in the way of noticing who I have in my life, who I will be taking in to this next chapter with me, those people who truly get me. The ‘woman’ who sings in to her hairbrush daily, truly wishes for world peace and thinks that life is so much better when you’re laughing/ dancing.

My 30th Birthday

I feel truly blessed!

With Love,

-Ria x

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#IAMWHOLE

It’s 22:21pm as I write this… but better late than never. It is still #worldmentalhealthday and Rizzle Kicks star, Jordan Stephens has launched a mental health campaign to normalise the stigma around mental health and to fight for the support that the campaign needs, for young people and simply for us all.

More than one in three people between the ages of 11 and 24 suffer with mental health difficulties. That is quite a statistic. That is a scary amount of young people in this day and age who feel like they are alone, who feel like they shouldn’t speak up and get the help that every human being deserves. Jordan created the hastag #IAMWHOLE to soar throughout social media giving anyone suffering in silence the opportunity to click on it and have their eyes opened to a circle of people, holding out a hand so that they don’t have to feel isolated anymore.

Like my photograph above, many of us have joined in with the campaign by drawing a black circle on our hand. We have joined in because we have personally been touched by the effects of mental health difficulties, we want to help raise awareness to a cause that matters or like me, have suffered personally.

It took me a long time to accept that the anxiety attacks that I would have, the ones that would frighten me and effect my life so dramatically, fell under the mental health umbrella. I don’t know why but when I finally realised how I was ‘labelled’, I felt ashamed of myself. I felt weak, alone and embarrassed to admit it to my friends and closest family. It defined me for quite a long time. I was afraid a lot of the time, it stopped me from enjoying life as much as I wished that I could. I hardly said ‘yes’ to anything anymore, I limited myself completely and when I got so bad, my chest would go so tight, beads of sweat would drip from my face and I would be convinced that I wouldn’t get another chance to breathe. Panic would take me over completely and I was left, crying on my bed…a shell of the person that I used to be.

It was incredibly hard, to accept and to fight.

I know how it feels to feel so far from who you used to be, so out of control…So tired.

I want to help anyone who feels like I once did. I want you to want to help. We have to help.

I am a mother. This campaign matters for the future, for our children. For us all.

#IAMWHOLE

Are you?

With Love,

-Ria x

 

 

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Thirty

When I considered this post, the best part of a year ago, I imagined it to be different. I thought it would resemble a highlight reel of the year that I was twenty-nine. I imagined that it would be a lot of ticks off of my ’30 before thirty bucket list’. I wondered if I would talk about all of the things that I had planned for my twenty ninth year, how I had changed aside from simply growing older. I deliberated over which photographs I would use and I thought that I already knew how they would make me feel before I even had the chance to take them.

The truth is, the year that I was twenty-nine has been much more of a ‘behind the scenes’ kind of chapter. Sometimes a little solitary. In one breath, I would say a fail in terms of the expectations that I had set for myself but in the other, I would say it has been one of the most important years of my life.

Return To Sheldon Spa

This past year, I have learned more about myself than I thought was possible and none of it came from the bucket list that I thought would be so important at the time. None of it came from the bucket list that I never began. I learned more about myself by simply coasting with life, letting go of my need to control everything and simply being a human being who realised that she didn’t have a fucking clue what direction she was meant to take next…let alone ‘find the perfect skincare routine’ while ‘reading thirty new books’.

I learned that the little goals of my bucket list were kind of pointless, my way of regaining control…making everything feel stable.

I recall the afternoon just recently, I had a little time, an hour or so until I needed to collect my little crazies from school. I looked at my list of things that I deemed important to achieve, almost a year ago and they kind of made me shudder. Don’t get me wrong, my ideas were lovely, cute…some beautiful yet suddenly, I didn’t get it anymore. I didn’t understand why I had to read thirty books, try thirty different recipes, have the perfect picnic or aim for ‘thirty acts of kindness’.

It’s about finding THE book that you relate to, changes you, inspires you… Not reading thirty shit ones! Food isn’t an aim, picnics are better when they are spontaneous and why would I limit kindness. I am kind, everyday… I am that person who throws kindness around like confetti.

Shorne Woods Country Park

I remember sitting there with a cup of peppermint & Liquorice tea and asking myself why I chose these things to aim for? Why were they relevant? What did I expect to gain by ‘achieving’ them? Happiness? Self-Worth? An attempt at self development perhaps? I still don’t know the answer. I do know that I still love the idea of bucket lists, goals and targets…making your dreams come true but this list just didn’t speak to me any more.

Faversham Hop Festival

I was already listening to the moments this past year that I hadn’t planned for, in the year that I let life happen. I listened to the quiet that I had planned to make noisy, the times that I felt such joy, unexpectedly. The past year was speaking to me and I was enjoying reminiscing about all of the things that I could have missed out on in a bid to tick a box. Like when I went Glamping in November, in the freezing cold with my slightly mad family which was good for my soul. Like when I opened up about and faced past body issues which I now realise was a heavy burden to carry. Like when I attended a photoshoot in London which saw me step out of my comfort zone massively. Like spending time with my siblings (my backbone) at the theatre and being exactly who I am. Like being on billboards all around the country and having the loveliest women show support, It felt nice. Like enjoying being outside in the Summer with my children for camping, picnics and making memories because they are my heart. And lastly, deciding to extend our beautiful family by one more (hopefully) because I am proud to say that I love being a mother. I made some truly happy memories this past year. I learned a lot about what happiness means.

A Weird And Wonderful week

I think once you conquer happiness, you become free. Once you are confident enough to simply choose it for yourself, you will start to feel it…even in the most testing times. People spend their lives searching for it, sacrificing things they love to get closer to it, feeling miserable because they don’t have it… viewing it as unobtainable, a bonus. It doesn’t have to be that way. I don’t think that I have actually changed that much this past year to be honest with you but the one thing I have noticed in myself is how much believing in happiness has altered me, for the better.

I feel blessed to be going in to my thirtieth year, choosing happiness. Plain and simply.

I may still not know very much about different wines, I may still not know what clothes I want to wear, I may still follow every recipe to exact instruction and I may still feel like I don’t know my exact direction (like most of us!) but that is actually okay by me. There’s something exciting about it.

And it may have taken me a whole year to find the purpose of the ‘year that I was twenty-nine’ but at the end of it, I discovered something pretty great. Something that I can take in to ‘thirty’ and the rest of my years, something that will serve me well, look after me… make me a better person, full of light, love and positivity.

I get to be thirty and I get to be happy.

Twenty-Nine, it’s been amazing but I have a new chapter to begin, with a smile… x

Chasing Sunsets

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