A Letter To My Younger Self

Dear Ria,

Do you remember when thirty years old felt a million years away? Well I’m coming at you from twenty nine years old with our flirty thirties lingering. It used to feel so old but actually it’s quite nice living here, peaceful almost.

The best thing about it is hindsight, I say best thing sarcastically (yes cherub, you’re still pretty sarcastic and yes you know it’s the lowest form of wit…and no, you still don’t care too much about that!)… because actually, it can really sting sometimes. Oh the things I wish we would have known Ree!

This is so weird, I feel like a wise relative or something, like it’s not us… but it is. When you get here, you will have learned some lessons, some really hard ones too. You are naive now… you don’t stay that way completely. I’m afraid to say, I’m still figuring out if that is a shame or not. It means that life has hardened you a bit but it also means that you are learning not to let people control you so much or better still, try and break who you are.

You still like to see the best in people and life but you’ve seen another side of it, you’ve seen how you can’t control everything that happens in the world or the people in it. You’ve felt it hurt you. You’ve learned that it’s the people closest to your heart that will break it. You’ve learned how to piece it back together and you have understood that every crack changes you…and it is absolutely meant to. True to who you have always been, you hold on to the lessons and any good that you can possibly keep hold of in the palm of your hands. You know that you will need it to help you move on, move forward and grow.

You don’t hate yourself in your late twenties. In fact, you are pretty happy with how you turned out. You’ve never lost sight of the path you could have taken and what that would have meant for you. Unhappiness, loneliness, pity and unfulfilment. I’m proud we didn’t choose that life… our smile is too big for it.

I’m proud of us for a lot of things. I’m proud that we stopped using Dream Matte Mousse on our skin which was two shades too dark. I’m proud that we always wrote down our feelings, it helped us to better understand ourselves. I’m proud that we knew how to walk away from people who were not good for us and i’m proud that we respected ourselves enough to put ourselves first in some real life defining moments of our journey.

We didn’t always get it right. We gave too many chances sometimes and not enough in others. We have always struggled with finding the balance between being too harsh and too soft, too forgiving. Some of those people and friends didn’t deserve that extra time, those extra chances… and some really did.

We have always struggled with expecting people to live up to our expectations of them. I’m happy to say that we are working on that, most definitely. We accept people as exactly that these days, people…in their own right! It’s pretty liberating and I wish we had done it sooner. We feel more free for it and the world suddenly feels a lot more exciting, new almost!

You have two children now… can you even fathom it? They are literally incredible…like so cool! Noah is six and a half now and Ellenah, she is four. You have been on one crazy adventure through motherhood so far Cherub but you wouldn’t change a thing…apart from maybe you would try not to be so perfect. You wasted energy on that and nobody actually cared about it. I think that you were trying to prove something to yourself. I know that we are bad at math but do the sums, you were a young mama at the fresh age of twenty-two. Honestly, it has all worked out well but you spent a while building a wall around your bubble so that it wouldn’t burst or break. So that you wouldn’t break. You didn’t break! It has truly been the greatest thing that has ever happened to you…or ever will I’m guessing.

You are a good mum! So in the future when you see that line on the pregnancy test and you start laughing to stop yourself from crying out in self doubt… please know that it will be okay, you will be okay… it is okay. The reality is, it blows okay out of the water. It is amazing and wonderful and awesome and super and glorious and yes hard, I won’t sugar coat it but so completely worth it because nothing has ever up until this point, made you feel so proud of yourself than being the mother that you are.

Noah and Ellenah love you. And that is all that you need to make every day bright.

Katie- Fay is still your firm best friend and I don’t doubt she always will be. She really was a find when you grabbed hold of her at play school and hoped that she would be your pal. I’m pleased to say your friendship has NEVER faltered since that day. Rich is still your brother from another mother. You don’t see Anna enough and that bond is special. Nobody will understand your childhood like she does!!! Laura, you wouldn’t have met yet but that friendship is one in a million. When you go on a course with work to Brighton for a week (when you worked in finance…haha, I know right?!)… it is going to be special. You will get drunk, almost end up in the sea, invent the best inside jokes that will make you laugh every time and she will be the bridesmaid at your wedding.

Yep, we grew up and got married! His name is Matt! He is handsome and love has been an adventure. It has been perfectly imperfect and he will teach you the absolute best and the hardest lessons in your adult life. Think of a tornado and take a deep breath before he sweeps you off of your feet the day after you packed your things and walked out on the home and life that you had started to build with your long term boyfriend at the time.

Remember what I said about walking away, giving too many chances, hurt and heartbreak…but more importantly, what I said about choosing yourself in some life defining moments. That was one of them.

You grew yourself some balls over the years Girlfriend… and I don’t mean your boobs…they didn’t grow much. Gumption though, you developed that…strength and courage. And…I’m really glad!

Of course, there are many chapters and adventures in between all of this and a lot of fun but you need to experience it first hand. Those moments bring you to now and regardless of the good and bad…you wouldn’t change a damn thing! Because…You are happy now! Not just content. I know we’ve always had a bit of a thing about the difference between the two. I will say though, you have learned that ultimately, happiness is what you make it. You can actually choose it… and you must, always!

The thing that I’m thankful our adult life has taught us is that anything bad that has ever happened, anything mean anyone has said or how negativity has made you feel… It really is empowering. You survived it! You realise that nobody comes out of life unscathed and the more people you talk to about their stories, you will often feel sick, surprised, sad… and you will be ever so grateful for your own.

You’ve said goodbye to the bad parts. Others aren’t as lucky as you.

And on that note… I’m excited for everything to come ‘Smaller Me’… I can feel adventure in our heart, our smiler is bigger than ever and I’m really looking after us. Please don’t be in too much of a hurry to get here, okay? Promise me?

Love, Ria x

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For the last two months, my go to lipstick which I have been reaching for on a daily basis is Angel by Mac Cosmetics.

Mac Angel Lipstick

Believe it or not (because it is one of Mac’s bestsellers!), this is quite a recent addition to my make-up collection and it only found its way there because the shade ‘Creme Cup’ wasn’t available at the time of purchase. Creme Cup is an oldie but a goldie to me and ‘Angel is the next best thing!’ as the lady behind the counter told me. I actually prefer Angel now.

It is a frost finish which gives it a very pretty pearl effect to the lips and it is supper flattering for an every day look. I am in love with how much control I have over the colour payoff. It applies quite sheer but it is so buildable and can result in quite a few different looks… you could easily take this little beauty in to the night.

I have fair skin and I really like the way that it looks on me. Some pink nudes can wash me out and make my face look very flat. This shade really lifts my face and makes me feel super confident… and dare I say pretty?

I don’t wear this with a liner or a gloss, it is very low maintenance and because I don’t have much time, I really appreciate that in a lipstick (and anything where beauty is concerned really!)

It lasts really well on the lips, especially for a formula that is quite sheer and actually what I like most about this product is that when it starts to wear off and away, it leaves your lips looking so moisturised, plump and like you have still made an effort to pull yourself together. Because the colour gradually wears away, it leaves that slight pearl tint to your lips for hours which looks beautiful. It doesn’t go patchy and you don’t need to worry about what your pout looks like so you can wear it with confidence. I am terrible at re-applying so this lipstick is simply perfect for me.

I would definitely recommend and truly believe that it is well worth the £15.50 price tag.

With Love, Ria x

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‘Okay, I just need to weigh you and take your blood pressure, would that be okay?’

‘Sure, no problem…’ I replied. I know the drill- quick, quick…do all the normal checks, get handed a prescription and I’ll be back again in three months time to see how it’s going.

‘Did you know Mrs Langner, we have the same weight for you since you were seventeen years old?’

I knew, it’s not the first time that they have mentioned it. Surely the fact that I am at my natural weight can’t be that baffling to science really, can it? Plus, I’m not that sure how I’m supposed to answer that question, I’m not sure if I’m being scolded, congratulated, questioned… If i’m honest, I don’t know why they bring it up every time. I know for my height I’m classed as ‘under weight’ but I know as well as they do that I am healthy. I would rather we didn’t talk about it. It’s not the reason that I came.

I kind of grunted and said a meek ‘oh!’, I grabbed my prescription and left.

It got me thinking about my body and what I think of it.

I grew up hating it in some ways and loving it in others.

I always hated being tall, I was bullied for being lanky, I never felt in proportion…especially not to how invisible I wished I was in secondary school anyway. My limbs were long and skinny… You couldn’t miss me and I was an easy target. In secondary school I hated being me.

I walked a little crooked just trying to be shorter, I never looked up incase people were staring. I had an unhealthy obsession with food… I just wanted to ‘fit’ somewhere, be like the other girls…. be and look like someone else that wasn’t me, even for a little while.

People were mean to me. People were mean about my body. Being a teenager was hard for me, it’s hard to think about.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad.

I could dance. And those limbs that I had grown to despise helped me to fly. I felt like I had wings as I leapt through the air and moved so gracefully. The neck that I would crane over so that nobody would see my eyes would elongate and I felt so high up, like I could really breathe from up there…like I could love my body forever because it allowed me to fly, to breathe, to see and to be me… away from the opinions and horrible things that people said.

I could run too, really far and really fast. My body let me push it, further and further and I got better and better. I got stronger and stronger and as I held the medals in my hand that basically told me to love my body, I still couldn’t bring myself to give it much credit. I told myself it was all in the mind.

And in the wake of the school years, away from the toxic people that had broken my confidence, I realised that I was wrong. I started on a journey to truly love my body and be happy in my skin.

Of course, early adulthood wouldn’t be the same without drinking a little too much, partying a little too often and eating the wrong foods with your friends as you talked into the the following day. Early adulthood wouldn’t be the same if you had enough sleep and didn’t abuse your body in some ways. It’s part of growing up and a part of life.

And then I reached the age of twenty two and I learned that I was going to become a mother for the first time. At first it was daunting. I was worried how I would look and feel after having a child, I had come so far in my journey of self-acceptance… I didn’t feel ready to deal with more body issues.

And then I felt that flutter like little butterflies. My son.

From that moment, it wasn’t just my body… it was a home. The first home that I lived in with my little boy. It’s where I grew him, fed and watered him and where I kept him safe… and later on, my beautiful daughter too.

I watched my body change in front of my eyes. I watched it push its limits, further and further, life felt better and better and my body was the reason that my baby grew stronger and stronger. And then, I started to give my body the credit that it deserved all of those years ago and especially in that moment when I was growing a child, the first and second time.

I realised that my body is capable of such incredible things. And I loved it a little more.

Of course, my body changed. Yes, three days after having both children, I was back in my jeans and if you didn’t know me, you wouldn’t ever have guessed that I had just had children.

I knew.

It was almost like Noah and Ellenah had carved their names into the walls of their first bedroom and in it’s place, left me with a couple of faint stretch marks to mark the occasion. Over time, they have become almost invisible but they will be there forever. And, I will treasure them until my dying day.

I don’t hate them like once upon a time I thought that I would. How could I ever?

And that brings me to now, approaching thirty this year and more in love with my body than I ever have been. It has been a journey, one I won’t ever forget.

My body is more than ‘a weight’.

My body is more than a statistic.

My body is more than a comparison to anyone else.

My body is mine and there isn’t another one out there like it.

And I do, I absolutely love it and everything that comes with the privilege of ageing it.

My Body

With Love, Ria x

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When I was asked by my childhood friend and the lady who I refer to as my little sister, to be her Matron Of Honour… I cried! My voice became so high pitched and things got a little awkward for poor Matt when he was trying to communicate with me. Needless to say, I was so happy.


I awaited my list of tasks and To-Do’s from an incredibly laid back Bride-To-Be… Not much came. Honestly, this girl takes life in her stride and has faith that all will be fine. Is it possible that I am Bridezilla in her place, desperately wanting her to have the most wonderful day and to feel like the Princess that she is? I would be on the end of the phone, waiting for the call to whip out my highlighters and colour code the crap out of her wedding planner… But everything was in hand.


Eventually, my turn came to step up. The other bridesmaids and I had to put our heads together and plan a Hen Night for our girl.


Ideas were flung around, opinions were exchanged and we agreed on an idea at a secret squirrel meeting over drinks at a local pub. I felt like some kind of secret agent… I can’t lie!


There were twists and turns along the way and in a turn of events, the bridesmaids and I decided that our idea wasn’t the one. it wasn’t how we wanted Katie to say goodbye to her single life and hello to her new one… and name!


So, we decided on something that I hope she will forever look back on with fondness and a smile.


Katie is a beautiful person, inside and out. She is calming and kind-hearted and honestly, the nicest person I know. In all of our years growing up together, when I would be walking home, singing a bit of Bob Marley to myself after one too many vodka, lemonade & Limes after a night out on the town… Katie would be nowhere in sight. 


She is sensible, classy, family-orientated and she not only knew that nights out on the town, drinking too many vodka, lemonades and lime were not for her but she knew what was and she knew exactly how she liked to spend her time. 


She knows exactly who she is.


She introduced me to quinoa, we marvel over travel and we could talk for hours over one cup of tea and a bag of Maltesers about life and our futures… She is unique.


So she deserved a day that would compliment who she is.


We decided to throw her a Bridal Shower.


We invited the long list of ladies in her life who she holds dear.


We decorated my garden. 

There was bunting.

Fresh flowers.

Fizz.

Good Food.

Smiles.

Happiness.

Friendship.

Games.

Words of wisdom and advice.

Earliest, funniest and sweetest memories of our dear friend, written down and shared around. 

Mounds of support.

And….

a whole lot of love for a very laid back Bride-To-Be……

The sun shone down on the day and the blossoms blossomed. It felt like we were all so grown up and it was the perfect start to not only the weekend but hopefully, of her long and happy life with a man named Tom, her true love.

xxx

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Nobody has just a ‘Hen Night’ anymore, right? 


So when I was in full Hen Planning Mode for my bestie, I knew that I wanted it to be a two-day kind of shindig. As previously mentioned, my friend Katie is not a party girl. She LOVES to dance but falling out of clubs is not her bag. 


After deciding on her ‘Bridal Shower’… I wanted the event for the next day to compliment the relaxed atmosphere from the day before and I wanted ‘The Bride-To-Be’ to come away from her Hen Weekend feeling like a million bucks and ready to tie the knot.


I think that I always had a spa in mind. It just felt like it would offer everything that I wanted for my friend and also (and quite selfishly) for a super busy mama like myself. A spa just seemed like the perfect treat for a lovely group of women to escape their to-do lists and duck out of normality for a few hours for some well deserved relaxation and pampering. 


I can’t believe that I have been living so close to such a wonderful little secret in the shape of Sheldon Spa (Located Lees Court Road, Faversham, Kent)


When we arrived on Sunday 31st May 2015 at around 9.45am, we drove in to what felt like someone’s driveway. We thought that we had the wrong address at first but as we edged closer we realised that we were exactly where we were meant to be. It looked idyllic and it didn’t feel like we were anywhere near our local town…AT ALL! It was so pretty and serene. 

From the moment that we stepped through the door, confused and a little ditzy- nothing felt like too much trouble and all of us girls felt immediately at ease…and ever so comfortable. 


We were taken through health and safety straight away but nothing about it felt too harsh. I’ll be honest, it was thorough… but, nothing about it felt like anything more than being shown around your girlfriend’s house and having a bit of a chat about beauty and general girl talk. The therapists were professional but human. They felt like old friends.


Inside, it was absolutely stunning. The attention to detail was on point and for somewhere that looked so modest from the outside, it was incredibly spacious.

I LOVE this decor. It is so fresh looking and subtle but so very sweet. A perfect, girly haven. Although, next time I come back, I want to come with Matt and I know that he would appreciate how gorgeous it looks too.

Considering that we were at the spa for five hours in total, I didn’t pick up one magazine but I loved knowing that they were there. Before I left home that morning, I shoved a book in my bag but next time, I’ll leave it at home… I wouldn’t need it.

There were so many places to sit and relax and I’m sure that I lost a fair while gazing out of the windows at the beautiful garden.

 I’m not going to lie… Before we left the spa, I made sure that I used each and every one of these products on my face and body. I love Clarins products and it was such a nice touch that they were complimentary. I love lotions and potions but I have quite sensitive skin, it was nice to see them use a reputable and trustworthy brand which I love. Huge thumbs up!

Do you see what I mean about attention to detail? These personal touches make such a difference and really set them apart from other Spa’s. 

Sometimes in life, you have to make time to shut yourself out of the matrix for a few hours because when you do, you can really achieve so much. 

You can spend real time with the people who raise you up, support you and who make you the person that you are. These people are invaluable to your happiness.

You can use this time to write. Letters and notes of encouragement to the people who may need it, will appreciate it and will love to re-visit monumental moments in their lives when your written words exploded from your heart on to paper. 

You can spend this time dreaming, deciding, believing, planning… Just being! 

These moments are even better with fizz…

And even better when you get to drink fizz with friends and your loved ones.

You can smile.

And not for anybody but yourself.

Simply because you can and it is absolutely okay to.

You can be kind to yourself, your soul and your body.


You can appreciate the fleeting moments of solidarity to remind yourself that you, just one person in this big, wide world…are pretty amazing.

We had all that we needed to relax and let go…

And plenty to do while we awaited our treatments. I had a Weleda facial and I still struggle to find the words to describe how amazing that was. I’ll be honest and say that during the treatment, I hardly felt like I was in my body and that is for real. It was such an incredible experience. My skin felt great and for a week after, I didn’t put a scrap of make-up on my face. I felt completely zen and just so happy and comfortable in my skin.


All of the ladies were impressed with their treatments. From pedicures, to back, neck and shoulder massages- we all felt so relaxed and at ease. One of the bridesmaids couldn’t stop smelling her skin from the massage oil and there were a lot of sad faces when it was time to leave.

Saying that, we didn’t leave before indulging in a delicious cream tea to finish off such a wonderful day.

And delicious it truly was.

 

I honestly can’t say a bad word about Sheldon Spa and I’m just kicking myself that I didn’t find it sooner. As a woman, it is important to feel comfortable in our surroundings and able to embrace our different body shapes and sizes. At Sheldon Spa, it felt a lot like home…seriously, I wish I lived there! There was such a fabulous atmosphere and I couldn’t recommend that you visit there enough. 

You really will come away feeling amazing about yourself and like you are seriously winning at life. I can not wait to go back, with the ladies again and hopefully before then (and sometime soon!) with Matt, the man of my dreams.

With Love

x Ria x

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