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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My Everyday Make-up Routine, Autumn 2016

I say that this is my ‘everyday make-up look’ but the truth is, I don’t actually wear make-up everyday. I like to let my skin breathe when I can. However, If I have got somethin’ on… Right now, it will be this. It’s so easy, so low maintenance and so perfect for someone who like me, is always busy, always has somewhere to be…something to do. It is perfect for a working mum, a stay at home mum, a career lady and all round mum boss. And best of all, It’s pretty budget friendly.


P R O D U C T S

Foundation – Rimmel Match Perfection (24hr Moisture Hydration)

I apply this quite thinly over my nose, cheeks and chin and anything left on the brush I take up onto my forehead. I don’t like to look or feel like I’m caked in make-up. Occasionally I will dot a few tiny spots of concealer (Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer) around if I have a blemish or hormonal redness around my nose but this isn’t an essential step everyday.

My Everyday Make Up Routine, autumn 2016

Eyeshadow – Chopper From The Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

I push a little of this into my eyelids (it has a tendency to fall out). I take this about three quarters of the way up to the crease and subtly blend it up to the line.

My Everyday Make-up Routine, August 2016

My Everyday Make-up Routine, August 2016

Brows – Maybelline Brow Drama In Medium Brown

I tend to just stroke my brows in to place with this so that they set…and behave.

Lashes – Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara

I wiggle this up from the root and then apply it at an angle to individual lashes. This gives texture and a nice, natural look.

My Everyday Make-up Routine, August 2016

Lips – MAC Frost Lipstick In The Shade Angel

I prime my lips with a carmex lip balm and then apply lipstick straight to my lips. This is a beautiful, subtle pink…and I love it.

My Everyday Make-up Routine, August 2016

Bronzer – The Body Shop Honey Bronzer In Light

I apply this where the sun would naturally hit and rather than a harsh contour, I sweep the bronzer in a ‘3’ motion down my temple, lower cheekbones and jaw. This gives such a healthy look.

My Everyday Make-up Routine, August 2016

Blusher – Nars Blusher In Orgasm

Ahh, my favourite blusher, my holy grail. I gently sweep this onto the apples of my cheeks and blend upwards, towards the top of my cheekbones.

My Everyday Make-up Routine, August 2016

And that is it, done. I told you it was simple!

Watch the video below to see how it all comes together for the final look.

Let me know in the comments which products you enjoy? And let me know if you would like to see a skincare video/blog post or maybe a full evening look?

Thanks for reading / watching!

With Love,

-Ria x

 

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Weekly Meal Plan ( Family Of Four)

So, right now… I am writing this blog post with one eye open and the other is fast asleep. I have just got home from family swimming night at our local swimming pool…And I am exhausted. In a good way though! We all are. I dressed the children in their pyjamas ¬†after we hit the showers, so as soon as we walked through the door, they slid into their beds and I haven’t heard a peep since.

Noah did so well. He is swimming under water like a bit of a boss really and has surprised us all considering that less than a month ago, he was terrified of the water being in his face. I talk a little more about this in my ‘family life, lately’ video (link to video here) but basically, he has transformed in to a water baby and it’s amazing to watch. I still can’t believe that I managed to teach him to swim in twenty minutes. If there was ever a moment that I felt like super mum, that was totally it. Ellenah has come so far in a week too. It’s incredible how quickly such little legs build up strength and memory to learn a skill.

As I say, I’m a little tired by it because I try and get a good chunk of exercise in too, while we are there. It would be silly not to considering how much I miss going to the gym and how much I love to work out. I’ll ache tomorrow but it will be worth it because it makes me feel so good about myself.

I’m trying very hard to be as healthy as I can now. I’ve noticed so quickly how a well-balanced diet and a bit of exercise can make you feel like a million bucks… or at least, a lot less sluggish with a little more energy to play with the kids and to live life well.

This is one of the reasons why I wanted to share my meal plan this week. It is quite well balanced in my opinion, quite healthy…and that’s a hard feat when you have a family to feed.

I have really enjoyed watching grocery haul videos lately too. I really feel like I’m not alone and I have someone to help when I have been stuck in a food rut in the past. Food ruts can be soul destroying if you are the person responsible for the groceries and cooking dinner for your loves. You want to do right by them but sometimes the inspiration just doesn’t come naturally and you are sick of the same old meals that you churn out, week in and week out.

I hope my haul helps you out a little mama?

Let me know in the comments, if you have any healthy, family friendly recipes that I could try also, I would be forever thankful?!

With love, Ria x

P.S. I love my fruit bowl on grocery day. It’s the little things that make me so happy x

Weekly Meal Plan (Family Of Four)

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I live in Kent, The Garden Of England.

And Autumn hasn’t yet come by here. It’s biding its time, waiting. And all of us are waiting back.

All of us who long for the the season of browns, golds and berry. Us folk, who simply prefer forrest walks, crunching through fallen, crispy leaves as the chill that hangs in the air surrounds us. Us who have waited for the scent of suncream to fade into the memories of ‘the summer just gone’. Us who are desperate to pack away the sandals and say goodbye to the sunshine so that us, the typically British, can get on with starting to miss it, instantly.

But I think I saw it…

Last night!

I think I felt it brush past me as I was walking home. I pulled my burnt, orange cardigan closer to me and watched it dance with the leaves, as they aged along the side of the road.

I felt it wrap itself around my toes, before I pulled on my warmest socks and closed the bedroom window.

Autumn came in to my home.

My home that has no spiced apple or cinnamon candles. My home that needs more cozy throws. My home that will quickly accommodate the season in wait.

The season that will be here soon.

My favourite season of them all.

I was an October baby, so to me it makes sense that this would be the time of year that I love the most. Even though it is colder, less shiny and bright… Autumn always feels like a fresh start to me. I love that we don’t have to say goodbye to quality family time, just because the summer days drift away. Autumn is the perfect time for families, in my eyes. Autumn is the perfect time for me and my family especially.

And so, I have made an Autumn Bucket List for my family and me. To tick off. To get the most from it. To make us soak it up. So it doesn’t pass us by. So it doesn’t go to waste.

With Love, Ria x

P.S. What is on your Autumn Bucket List with your family?

 

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The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The 'Leaving For University' Party

It was raining. All day. Our plans for a garden party, to send our niece off to university in style, were looking less likely. We checked in with the weather forecast that told us it was brightening up. We looked outside. Heavy rain. We waited. We deliberated. We remained hopeful that the empty promises would show up for us after all.

The 'Leaving For University' Party

The 'Leaving For University' Party

The 'Leaving For University' Party

The 'Leaving For University' Party

We catered for thirty- something. A gorgeous, continental feast waited in bags while we ran around in the heavy rain, fixing fairy lights into the trees and hanging bunting all around. It was literally raining on our parade, ‘pissing it down’ all over our vision. And we checked the weather again. It was meant to be brighter by now. It was meant to have stopped. But the rain fell, straight down…No messing about, with the lone intention of making everything wet and ruined. And still, ¬†like mad women, my sister and I set out the garden tables with jars full of flowers and tealight candles that we hoped would flicker in the night sky.

The 'Leaving For University' Party

It would have looked beautiful.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

It did look beautiful, in the end.

The 'Leaving For University' Party

Fifteen minutes before everyone arrived, we pulled the party inside. It was ‘The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof’ and the fairy lights looked beautiful against the slightly steamed up glass of my conservatory. It mingled with the bunting and we scattered the jars of flowers everywhere. I think, in the end… It looked better.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The decorations blended in perfectly with the buffet for all, jugs of pimms and strawberries and cream. In the end, the raindrops set the perfect scene as they enveloped the glass and looked quite beautiful. It felt warm, cozy, friendly and the perfect place to say ‘cheerio’ to one of the most lovely people that the world now gets to know.

*Deep breath Ria… You can write this!

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The reason that we wanted the night to be so special, is because it was for someone pretty amazing. Our niece. The beautiful Erin. The girl with the kindest heart.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

I am from a very close knit family and we like to celebrate each others successes in life. Erin has been accepted in to her first choice of university and will be taking a huge leap, away from her family and away from home to be one step closer to the career of her dreams. It was absolutely something to celebrate.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She is about to embark on such a wonderful journey. She is about to meet a lot of incredible people. People who will change her world completely. People who will challenge her. People who will sit with her in the library all night, in their pyjamas because the night they were meant to finish their work, the student bar were selling shots for 50p…Something crazy like that.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will learn about chance, change and all kinds of things about who she is. She will have a lot of dodgy photograph’s taken of her in this time… but they will always make her smile / laugh/ feel something.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will dance. She will drunk dial her beautiful mama in the night to say hello (her mama will most probably answer!), she may sing karaoke and she may fall asleep in a fair few lectures (if she remembers to set her alarm for 2 o’clock in the afternoon and makes it in.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will eat way too many noodles. She will down too many drinks because she will lose at too many drinking games. She will regret this.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She may do this, for many consecutive nights.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

It will not make her feel better.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will probably ponder this over a dominoes pizza because she had a voucher, somewhere!

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will get to be exactly were she is meant to be, at this time in her life. She will get to do all the things that comes with being young, with the world in the palm of your hands.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

And yes, even though I told her all of this the other night while drinking prossecco straight from the bottle, I have to say it out in to the world so that she always knows it…

I am really proud of my her. She has always been so smart. Smarter than I ever was. But… in the last couple of years, she has had to fight for her next steps in to the big wide world. She hasn’t been the girl that everything just goes right for. She has been knocked down…and so she brushed herself off and stood back up. She did not crumble under pressure, expectation or fear…and that is what makes me most proud. Because like always, she holds herself with strength, courage and belief in herself… Even when it probably would have felt easier not to. Easier to give up.

She didn’t!

We have all watched her grow into such a beautiful young lady, so mature, comfortable in her skin and well adjusted. She used to be someone who remembers listening to ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ by Green Day with me, in my teenage bedroom when she was small and then, as if by magic she became the person who I watched Bridget Jones with for the very first time. And we laughed like mad people. Like friends.

So, even though it will be emotional to see her go. It is bittersweet. She is ready for this. She has got this. She is going to love this. And as I’ve said it a million times before…

I am so proud of her and she truly deserves to have this chance, to follow her dreams and to be all that she can be.

With Love, Ria x

 

 

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