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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Body Confidence // Dear Ellenah

To my sweet little Ellenah,

Did you know that once upon a time, the thought of having a little girl absolutely terrified me? In a time when so much comes down to who we are on the outside… and comparison (the thief of joy) plagues so many. It’s a scary time to be a girl or a woman, let alone to raise one.

It was hard enough when I was younger. People made comments about what I looked like, all of the time. I would return home from school on the daily and try to think of ways that I could make my legs shorter, ways to looks shorter…to blend in with the other girls my age. I would stare at my face in the mirror, for what felt like hours. Sometimes I would stare at it for so long that it would eventually distort my reflection and then I would walk away, happy. It was my way of hiding from myself. I did this because I was not happy with my outside and at the time, to me… that was what mattered the most.

I felt that because my outside didn’t please others, somehow it made who I was on the inside lesser, unimportant, less worthy.

I was wrong!

I was wrong about that and I was wrong to be scared of raising a little girl.

I was wrong about me because regardless of how I felt about myself back then, I always tried to be kinder than I felt. I always tried to treat people how I wanted others to treat me. I always tried to prevent others from feeling how I did. In that time, bit by bit… I learned about the things that actually matter.

Body Confidence // Dear Ellenah

I learned that your heart should be the most attractive thing about you and like any muscle, the more you use it in the right way, the stronger it will become. In life, if you are using your heart to say kind things to people (and of course, to yourself!), if you are using it to treat everyone as the equal, important humans that they are, to accept people for everything that they are, to love and to forgive, even when that feels hard… Your beautiful heart beams from within and becomes everything that you need, to be ‘beautiful’ on the outside.

And this is what I try and show you, every day.

Being beautiful, being perfect…These are not aspirations. Perfection isn’t real and beauty is skin deep. These goals are a waste of time, energy and nothing good can come from trying to be them.

If you were to ask me, when I feel most beautiful, my answer would be this…

It’s early in the morning, as the sun beams through the bedroom window. I hear the door squeak as it opens and you appear. Your big, blue eyes are heavy and your soft, tiny hand is crunched in to a ball, trying to rub the sleepiness away. Your dainty little footsteps pad along the floor and then from the side of my bed, you roll over me. You snuggle beneath the duvet and rest your head in my arms. And, your eyes meet mine in this secret moment between a mother and her daughter, before the world wakes up… I feel beautiful. I feel beautiful because as you cup your hand on my cheek and stroke my fresh but slightly ageing face, the look in your eyes reminds me that I am loved by you, no matter what. Despite the fine lines that appear when I smile and laugh, despite my messy hair, despite any of the things that mean that I am not perfect. You don’t care about those things… You see me and they don’t matter to you.

Body Confidence // Dear Ellenah

I feel beautiful because the ability to love from within, gave me your dad, gave me your brother and it gave me you.

I so desperately hope that you are the kind of girl who isn’t defined by what make-up you put on, how shiny your hair is, how much you weigh…who you appear to be.

I hope that in the future, any body shaming, mean words, comments designed to make you feel bad or doubt yourself, do not land. I hope they fall, like water off of a ducks back.

I so desperately hope that you have the courage to stand up and be you, unapologetically. I so desperately hope that you stand up and fiercely protect your right to love yourself.

I hope you don’t spend your time trying to adjust yourself to fit in, change yourself to please the world. Be brave, have confidence in exactly who you are and you may just end up changing the world.

Forget fad diets, forget what the media portrays, forget the filters that make you look flawless. That is not real life.

Be kind to yourself…eat the foods that will look after you. Don’t punish yourself though… eat the cake.

Don’t hate your body sweetheart. You are so blessed to have it. Run as fast as you can, dance in the rain, skip when you are feeling happy, climb trees, hike through forests , breathe deeply and feel gratitude for each and every day that you get to have in this world.

Body Confidence // Dear Ellenah

Of course, if it takes you a little time to become you, like it did me and you listen too much to those who try to bash you… I will always be here, loving you so hard, until you love yourself.

Because, you are a beautiful person Els. You are a sweet, kind-hearted soul. A diva…Yes! Fierce… Definitely! A force to be reckoned with… Absolutely! An absolute blessing to the world?

Ellenah, this big, wide world is incredibly and undoubtedly blessed to have you in it. Exactly as you are.

I love you!

– Mama x

 

 

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Return To Sheldon Spa

So to end ‘My Weird And Wonderful Week’ quite perfectly, on Sunday morning, Matt and I escaped for three whole hours to Sheldon Spa in Faversham- my secret place, my hideaway. Last year for my best friends hen day, I visited for the first time and immediately knew that I wanted to come back with Matt for a romantic morning of peace and tranquility. Matt turned thirty years old quite recently, so I booked in for a belated birthday treat. It was just as lovely as I remembered.

We came with a little breakfast picnic of pastries, blueberries and smoothies and hung out on a lounger for a few minutes to have a morning cup of tea and some refreshing lemon water to start our relaxation.

The pool was so warm like a bath and we were actually really good and did some lengths before we hit the sauna.

The sauna was incredible. I suffer with a sun allergy and after we had some incredibly beautiful weather recently, my skin really suffered and it hadn’t yet managed to soften up properly and get back to normal. The steam and heat really cleaned out my pores and my skin felt incredible after using it. We sprinkled some eucalyptus oil on the stones before pouring (perhaps a little too much) water over the top and it smelt so beautiful. I felt like I could really breathe and let any worries of the previous week simply float away, completely out of my system.

We managed about seven or eight minutes in our first burst and then moved on to the jacuzzi where we chatted and let the bubbles massage our (pretty tired) bodies. It was just lovely!

I managed to read some of my book as I hooked myself on to the side of the pool and treaded water. After being a part of the promotion on Thursday, I really wanted to get lost in it and honestly it is so good so far. Once I am finished, I will do a book review and let you know a more detailed opinion for anyone thinking about reading it. As I read, I did tell myself off a little. I definitely need to make more time to read. It’s the perfect escape from reality and… it reminds me how much I really hope to write a book of my own one day. That would be my dream come true.

Matt went for his treatment which was a half an hour back, neck and should massage…and I read the whole time that he was there.

Then it was my turn (and I had the same treatment). The massage was amazing. I felt so pampered and relaxed after and I think I may have fallen asleep for a little while. I obviously needed it. I probably needed to catch up on the sleep that I lost when I was full of worry in the past week. When it was finished, it took me a while to regain my place in the day… I felt like I was somewhere else completely. It was amazing.

It takes a lot to leave me short for words, but I was too relaxed to speak.

Return To Sheldon Spa

It was so nice to have a little space in time to be completely selfish for a change. It was nice knowing that Noah and Ellenah were safe and happy so that I could feel much less guilt about taking some ‘me/us time’ on their time.

Sometimes it is so hard for me to listen to what my body really needs. What I really need, as a person.

The truth is, I want to give everything that I am to the people that I brought in to the world. When I say that they are my everything, that’s no joke. The parenting thing, I’m totally in it, one hundred and ten percent! The reality though, is that I can’t give EVERYTHING because then there would be nothing left…no good bits, no patience, no understanding, no empathy! And, I would be half the person that they deserve. I want them to have the best.

In this video HERE, I talk about ‘Me Time & Motherhood’…but I am terrible at taking my own advice.

It’s only when I went to collect the children after the spa and Ellenah had a melt down about who would help put her shoes on, I realised that I felt way more confident in handling the situation and myself. That little bit of time away stripped everything back and gave me a fresh start and a fresh voice.

I mean, I can’t be nipping off to the spa every day for a little talk with myself, can I?…I’ve gotta get real and knock that wonderful idea on the head.

But, surely I can save a little piece of myself in other ways. For the greater good?

How do you mama’s revive yourself and you sanity to be the best mum you can be?

With Love,

Ria x

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The Sweetest Life has been a little sleepy this past week because in reality I have been hurdling the days. I’ve been existing thanks to coffee and some very supportive words and ways from my lovely friends and family. The past week has been a blur of emotion and now that I have made it through to Saturday, where I am sat in the work office writing this (and Sunday evening where I am finishing this at home), with quiet around me and space to breathe and think… I can truly reflect upon the chaos. The chaos which makes me smile, fully.

I came in to this week nervous, agitated, anxious and tense. On Wednesday and Thursday, Noah sat his SATs and because I’m his mama, his biggest support…and biggest fan, I gave my positivity, confidence and every good thought I had, to him. I just wanted him to smile this week and feel good about himself. I didn’t want him to feel tested, challenged and doubtful of what he can or cannot do, will or will not become. I know that he is only seven (almost!) and others around me were saying that ‘it didn’t matter’ but in my opinion, no good can come of comparison and grading, against their peers or even worse, to an average. In no situation would I ever want to hear, ‘Noah did well, he is average!’ – what does that even mean and what message does that send to our children? How does that send a positive message in the way they should see themselves…or their worth going forward in to their futures? Anyway, He did it. We managed to get through it with smiles on our faces…and we have decided that the results are not important. As Noah’s parents, obviously we will know how he did but he does not need to. It isn’t something that needs to be on his radar… and suddenly, we all feel much happier about it.

I had been incredibly nervous about Thursday all week on a more personal note too. I had been invited to a photo shoot, in connection with Lucy Diamond’s book ‘The Secrets Of Happiness’. I was to make my way in to London for 11.30am where I would meet three of the other Channel Mums (Did you know that I am a Channel Mum?) and we would have our hair and make-up done ready for the shoot. London is a big deal for me. Well actually, travelling anywhere out of my safety zone is. And, meeting new people has always made me nervous because I can be quite shy. Thursday made me feel like I was really pushing myself… and there was something about that which I really liked. I honestly had the best day, it felt so surreal and even now, a couple of days later, I feel like I have to pinch myself to make sure it was real. I had so much fun and I laughed so much with the others. I came away from the day with achy cheeks and a tired stomach as a result.

A Weird And Wonderful week

I did take a few snippets of footage from the day which you can watch (for free) by clicking HERE. I can’t wait to tell Noah and Ellenah about this when they are old enough to care at all. I can’t wait to show them the little video that I made of my day. I can’t wait for them to think that sometimes I can be a little bit cool.

And as if Thursday wasn’t busy enough, after the amazing time that I had in London, I came back home, dumped my bag and headed straight back out to watch Noah be invested at Beavers. He had to say a promise and then he was given some badges. a certificate and a scarf…It was all very official and very cute.

I also had to decide about ‘The Sleepover’ and whether or not to let him go. It hasn’t been an easy decision but… I signed the consent form to say that he will be there. Parenting can be such a constant battle. It can be relentless. It is hard to find the right balance between giving enough freedom to help raise independent people and the desperate, maternal urge to keep them safe. And trust??? It’s really f*cking hard to trust anyone with your favourite people who aren’t in your official trust circle. Well it is for me anyway!

BUT…before I talk myself out of my decision, I think that Noah will be absolutely fine and I think he will have the greatest time. And I can’t wait for him to tell me about it because I am old enough to care. And I wish he was able to make a video about it because I would watch it over and over and even if I had to pay for it, it would be money well spent. And he doesn’t have to hope that I will think he is cool one day because I am well aware of it, so aware of it… He is awesome and whether I like it or not, he is growing up. I’m not going to be the one to hold him back.

Friday was easier, apart from taking Ellenah for her leavers photographs at pre-school. I feel like I was the only mama waiting who desperately wanted to cry. It all feels very real now! The process is winding down and soon she will be turning the page towards her next chapter in life- starting school. It makes my heart feel very strange. The photographer was trying to make Ellenah laugh or at least smile with a soft Iggle Piggle doll… It was quite an uncomfortable situation! Els was looking at her like ‘This is not funny!’ and in the group photograph, she needed the toilet so I can only begin to imagine what the proof will come back like… but, I will buy it anyway. She will never be a leaver of pre-school again after all and as much as I find all of this change hard, I want to remember every little thing about it. I want to remember her, what she looked like and how we both felt. It’s bittersweet.

And after that, I let myself just exist. I let myself go on to autopilot… I let myself sleep well on Friday night, knowing the next day was going to be simple. Exactly what I needed to regain some strength. Exactly what I needed to regain everything that I had given away this week – positivity, confidence and good thoughts. Exactly what I needed for everything to make sense once again. And now it does!

With Love,

Ria x

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