This month has flown by completely and quite honestly, there's been way more than five happy things happening right now. But alas, I'm going to pick my most favourite five. And certainly some new things that have been happening lately. Because trying new things can be just as exciting, if not a little scary sometimes too.
So here's my five happy things:

Adventures a month. This is a new one this year. Each month, somewhere gets planned. It can either be a day trip to somewhere new, or it can be an overnight stay or even a weekend away. In January I visited Cambridge for the first time (window heaven!), and I'm off to Bruges this weekend. March has already been booked up to stay in a quaint little Wagon. I simply think, this is becoming one of my favourite things to do.

Mini Eggs. Like why, why are they so delicious? They just seem to fall into my mouth. I don't know how it happens but they do. They just can't stop ending up in my mouth. Oops.

Disaronno. I think I've found a new best friend.. And I knew that after one sip (maybe I was drunk already?). I've never been a spirit drinker, choosing wine or cider usually at the bar, but since it got brought to my attention that Disaronno is very similar to my favourite and beloved Dr Pepper, I indulged. And I won't look back.

Runkle snuggles. Working away has it's downsides, and means that my bag hasn't really been unpacked for the past three weeks. And it also makes for one very lost little kitty so when I'm home for a few nights in the week, he does not leave me alone. But that's OK, I like having a small furry shaped shadow.

Question of the day. Each morning it is taken in turns to ask a question or be asked a question, and it doesn't matter if you're the question master or waiting for one, because this is simply the best part about my morning. And one to think about whilst driving to work. Try it!

"Happiness is a journey, not a destination."
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Without sounding like a complete broken record (I've turned into my mama), I love nothing more than weekends away with those closest to me, and last weekend was one I'd been counting down for what felt like forever. One of my favourite ladies big birthday weekends - MillionD's 40th!
On Friday night, I packed up the car, popped on my Mitten playlist and picked up some bottles of fizz  & snacks and headed down to Herefordshire to spend the weekend in a beautiful and not so little, National Trust house, that I soon became afraid to sleep alone in...
When I eventually turned up on Friday night, after talking myself out of being killed down the winding dirt track that was never ending, and opening the bag of crisps that were potential snacks for everyone, it was lovely to catch up with the girls on the last few months. We spent Friday night eating pizza and cheese and feeling cheery with pink fizz in our heads.
If there's one man who's the best egg around, it's Gray for surprising Sarah with this tray of chocolate. It's fair to say, we all took a moment to appreciate the beauty of these little delights of heaven.
On Saturday, we popped on our parka's and boots and went in search for a warm lunch of sausage hotpot before heading to the Brockhampton Estate where we pottered around and wondered how they'd have dealt with Instagramming their evening meals in such a dark room. Oh the thoughts that go around my head are questionable to myself sometimes...
After an afternoon of eating all the cake in the house (honestly, SO much!), and a blissful dinner in the local pub, we all couldn't wait to slip back into our pyjamas, pour ourselves some bubbly and spend the next few hours laughing over our poor attempts at charades and thinking that we had FaceTime sussed. I will give Sophie brownie points for her Simon Cowell charade. Hands down, best ever!
The house itself was absolutely beautiful with plenty of character from the beams in the ceiling, to the slanted walls and quirky doors and the roll top bath was one that every girl dreams of having in her house (I know Maria made full use of that!). I definitely spent each night with one of the girls, and enjoyed the late night chats to the birthday girl herself as we talked ourselves to sleep.
Gemma was the queen of Sunday morning, having prepared a perfect little breakfast of Bucks Fizz, sausages, bacon & toast and if there's Boursin in a sausage sandwich, I knew it would be a good day! We hung out in the kitchen and chatted like old friends do, before retiring to the living room with the fire where we spent the whole day doing nothing except watching movies, chatting and napping beside a very chilled Rosie.
The best part for me (which I did mention a few times...) was being able to spend Sunday night curled up on the sofa with the rest of the girls, and not have to worry about being anywhere on Monday. For me, that makes the weekend, having an actual full weekend. Minimal plans but in company.
And you know what, these weekends are certainly ones that I always treasure. And these girls who I get to spend it with, are the absolute best.
Internet friends who become real life friends.. I like that. I like that a lot.
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It was nearly a year ago that my life completely changed.
Out of choice.
And looking here now, my life and myself for that matter, couldn't be any more different to how it was, how I was back then. I didn't not feel myself then, but the person I am now, is me. And more than anything that I've learnt is that, actually I'm not so bad.
I'm doing alright.

The last year hasn't been easy, and I've not once sat there and pretended it was. Like the rest of the world, the other people who suffer heartache and change, it's hard and it takes time. There is never a right or wrong time to heal and move on, because we all do things differently and we all approach it in the best way possible that we can. My approach? I think I found myself a little in denial to begin with. There were doubters when my relationship ended, and people thinking I'd be regretting my decision and that I was throwing away too much - but I find myself thanking the doubters, because having to tell people that everything will be OK in the end made me start to believe it myself. I had nobody telling me it would all be OK, because quite honestly, they didn't think it would. I was this timid person, who couldn't even use a washing machine herself, who wouldn't stand up for herself and who couldn't get by a day in her life without asking her mum what to do.
Of course people would doubt me.
That person was leaving a relationship that from the outside, appeared blissfully happy, appeared normal and set for the future. But those doubters, those people, they weren't in the relationship. They weren't living the life that we were. And it wasn't their happiness on the line.

And I think, that, that's what stuck to me.

My brother told me that the moment I made my decision on what I wanted, that's when I couldn't let anyone change my mind. And he was right. I wanted to be happy, I wanted my ex to be happy. And we stuck to that. And we proved everyone wrong. And we taught ourselves at the same time, that happiness is the most important thing in life. The one thing we CAN control.
Happiness didn't happen over night. But I pushed myself into a new challenge, and I took each day as it came. To begin with, I felt all the emotions, all at the same time. I never even knew it was possible to feel happy yet sad, scared yet excited and heartbroken yet healed all together. Some days I felt like I had the world in my hands, and other days, I felt like the world was caving in on me. I took time for myself, and I surrounded myself with friends. I kept myself busy, because not only did I want to, but I felt that I had to. I didn't want to stop.
Because, stopping made me think. And I didn't want to think.

I guess I was afraid. Afraid of reality.

And reality hit me that November. When the final part of the house sale came. It was always there, lurking about, waiting to happen. And I prepared myself for it. But I suppose, however much you do, you can never quite be fully prepared for that huge change. The closure.
November was a dark month. November was a lonely month. It was hard, and out of all of the months, I struggled the most. I felt like nobody quite understood, and by opening up to my friends, they'd only think of me as a burden. The one person who saw me everyday, my work colleague, wasn't around to see how I wasn't quite right, and I kept myself hidden away a lot so people couldn't see me. From the outside I appeared fine, but behind closed doors I found myself unsure on the future. Only my mama could see how I was, but she wouldn't push me, because she knew, she knew me better than myself that I was trying to hold it together. I'd spent the past eight months telling people how happy I was, because I was, so I didn't want to seem almost like a let down. Like I'd gone full circle. Couldn't handle this on my own.
Like I'd failed already.
Not for one moment did I ever regret what happened that year or think we'd made a bad decision.
I just honestly, felt lost.
The break up had well and truly hit me.
I spent most of it worrying, worrying about my ex and how he was. And that was the hardest thing to deal with, worrying if he was happy, how he was coping and whether he or his family disliked me for our decision. I didn't worry about myself, I worried about him. And worrying about him, only made me not care for me. But I couldn't see that at the time.
And I didn't see that, until the middle of December.

Something just clicked inside of me. I couldn't do it to myself anymore. In our lives, the most important person to us, is us. And if we don't care for ourselves, then who will?

And that's when it all changed. When I became myself again.

I spent a lot of time thinking, I took time out with myself and thought about the person I am and what I wanted out of life. I sat back and thought about the things I'd managed to do over the year - and learnt the most important thing about myself..

I'm a lot stronger than I ever realised.

I realised that with a little bit of determination, and courage and going with your instinct without others telling you what to do, you can  achieve things and be just you. To some, it may be achieving a goal, or reaching a career point - for me, it was about myself. About my self worth and who I am. I felt proud of the person I'd become, of the challenges I'd faced myself, which to others are nothing, but to me, were huge milestones. That really grew me as an individual. Turned me into the person I am right this moment.
All those tears, all those doubts, all those worries, all those questions and debates, all those mistakes and all those learning curves are what has made me, me, today.
I went from being this young woman, who relied so much on her then boyfriend, to care for her, to love her and look after her, someone who wanted praise constantly and was told that they were doing OK, but someone who never quite understood herself, to someone who could live independently, who could make her own decisions and hold her own ground (OK, so I'm still working a little on that one...) and who knew what she wanted out of life. To be happy. And the only way I could be happy, was by just being. Doing things I wanted to do, when I wanted to do them. Accepting myself for who I am, and just taking life with a casual approach. To make yourself happy, you need to just be happy. And so I did.
I never quite thought I'd ever live alone, and I won't lie and say it's easy, but if there's one main thing that I appreciate, it's having that opportunity. Being able to be in my own company and be in charge of my house. I've become independent, almost so independent that I won't ever ask for help (I'm working on that one too...) but I am actually proud of that. Because it's far from who I was before. I lost my way, I relied on too many people - and now, I don't ever want to go back to that. Of course saying that, there's a time and a place when we need people, people to hold our hands, remind us of a good job we're doing and reassuring us at those right moments, but I've learnt that it's all simply about balance.

Life is about balance.

I believe to this day, that we have this path. It is set out for us, and what happens to us is all part of that path. It's there for us. And the things we get faced with daily, weekly, monthly or annually, they're meant to happen. They are there - to test us, praise us, teach us, and mostly grow us.
And even when we're doubting the path we've been put on, there's a reason for that. And that reason may take a little longer to get us to there, but it'll come. Sometimes just with patience and love.

And right now? I'm incredibly content with this path I'm on.

"Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back
everything is different..."
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At the end of January, I packed up my backpack and hopped on a train to London to see Kim. People often ask what I'll be doing down there, but quite honestly, I go to London to visit my friend, and hang out. And if that means a weekend spent in our pyjama's then hell, book me the next train. It's nice to have the option to do the tourist things, but equally for me, I like catching up with my favourites, hanging out. That's what matters.
On Friday night we headed to Honest burger to load our stomachs with the best cooked chips and a few cheeky cocktails (and burgers of course!), before heading to the Ice Bar for something different to do. In all honesty, we were a little disappointed with it as it wasn't really what we expected - but hey, we tried it and still managed to end up tipsy. We tottered back to Kim's where we curled up and caught up on the past month before falling into the best sleep I'd had in weeks!
There is a reason Kim is one of my favourites, and part of that reason is because she makes my favourite breakfast - waffles! We spent Saturday morning drinking orange juice and tea, discussing the other species and laughing over failed dates, whilst in our pyjamas.
After a lazy morning, we freshened up and jumped on the tube to Carnaby Street for a potter around the shops, picking up a few pointless delights in Tiger before stopping for a cheeky lunch in Leon (because nothing beats their sweet potato and halloumi box. Winner!). We spent the early evening eyeing up all the beautiful windows and doors in Finsbury Park, dreaming of houses we'd like to own.
The best way to spend a Saturday night is with a garlic and rosemary cooked Camembert, some tapas dishes, home made hummus and prosecco. With good company, and some trashy TV. These are definitely my most treasured memories. Also, A+ spread!
Sunday morning came and went far too quickly for my liking, but with my ridiculously busy diary - I was up and on a train at 9am heading home for a Christening. I quietly woke little Kim as I said my goodbyes, picked up my headphones and hit play on Spottily as I left the bright lights of London and one of my ultimate best friends. Weekends seem to go far too quickly, but it makes me appreciate time spent with friends so much more.
If there's one thing you take away from this blog post it's this: next time you're in London, and you're walking.. Play The Pink Panther Theme Tune. I guarantee you smile. And if you're anything like me, you'll laugh that loud, that you don't even care if people look at you funny. If only they knew...
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