Planning a Durable Garden

Friday, 20 April 2018

When you buy a new house, sometimes gardening isn’t your “thing”. I love the idea of spending time in my garden, planting seeds and watching them grow etc. However, I can only really see myself doing that when I’m older and I actually have the time to spend time in the garden.

I think, when I move into my first home, my top priorities would be designing the inside. I would focus on the entertaining areas, dining room, living room etc. When it came to organizing my garden, I would look for Artificial Grass in order to create a blank canvas. Although I would love to have real grass, I just know that I would not mow it and I’d end up with a jungle at the back of my house.

Ideally, I’d like a space that includes fresh looking grass, perfect garden furniture and colourful flowers. I’d obviously want a border around my garden to show off some flowers and grow my own vegetables, but I would predominantly use the space as a place for entertaining, sitting outside on hot summer nights and for sunbathing when we get that 5 minutes of summer…

If I could, I would also plant a cherry tree just to watch it grow. I think they’re the most beautiful trees and I think it would be beautiful to have a tree grow whilst you’re living in your home.


Designing my Dream Office

One day, I really want to be either freelance, or be so deep into my writing career that I can have a cute little office in my house. I have it all planned out. What kind of desk I would have, what accessories and how I would have the décor. Here are some of the things I would have in my dream office…


Ideally I would love a giant armchair that I can curl up onto when I’m tired, but I also really love the look of modern office chairs in bright colours. I think what I ultimately choose will depend on how I feel at the time, but I’m definitely into comfort over style.


I would absolutely love to a. own a coffee machine, and b. know how to actually use it. I just think it would be so nice to take myself away from work every now and then and grab a coffee. In my imaginary future home, I have large windows like the one in the picture above, and I can imagine staring out onto the scenary whilst I collect my thoughts.


As well as cool prints and artwork from my friends and favourite artists, I’d also love Experience 3D Resin Flooring, plants and succulents everywhere and my record player, along with my vinyl collection, on show in one corner.

How would you design your dream office?


My Guide to Moving Home

Thursday, 19 April 2018

In my life I’ve moved 5. The first time, I was moving from home to university in Manchester. As this was the first time I was moving, I found it really hard and upsetting. I felt as though I was lifting my life away from my parents and into my adult life, which was daunting af. After a few weeks in my new flat I felt at home, and I made so many new friends. Ever since, I’ve found moving easy to do – but only by following THE THREE P’S (queue dramatic music): 


Whether you’re looking for Londons leading removal company, or you’re after a friend who can help you move home, you need to plan out how you’re going to move. I remember in Manchester, a flat mate moved in via public transport. He had his bedding, clothes, and instruments with him. I honestly don’t even know how he managed to do it!

Make sure you plan in advance, book a time slot and move on to the next step – planning your move. To do this, section your home off into rooms. Keep your clothes together, big furniture items together and ensure your smaller furniture isn’t left behind. You can find large storage boxes in shops such as Home Bargains, and I really suggest you invest in some. They’re a god send, especially when you’re a hoarded like myself…


Knowing when to prepare and pack can be really infuriating. What if you pack something away when you need it? I always pack my toothbrush first for some bizarre reason and end up rooting to the bottom of my bag. To tackle this, plan out what you will need to pack first, these include smaller items, or things that aren’t used as much in the home. Once you have a definitive list, you can move on the final “P”.


Packing sucks, but to me it can be quite therapeutic. I like knowing where everything is, that it’s neatly tucked away, and that I can get to it easily should I need to when moving.

Always remember to fold your clothes, place heavier items at the bottom of the bag, and pack the essentials last. If you’re renting a van, place the bigger furniture at the bag to ensure more space for smaller items, and always bubble wrap breakables!


Garden Party Ideas

Can you believe how hot it is today? I’m currently wondering why I choose to be a big emo with a black wardrobe on days like this…But in all honesty I love them. I love sitting out in the sun with a cold drink, spending time with friends or family, and soaking in the 10 minutes of summer we get here in the UK.

It’s coming up to garden weather, when we sit in the sun until well after dark and enjoy ourselves with loved ones. So why not plan some garden parties for the next few weeks, until the sun decides to slip away that is…


Everyone loves a BBQ, and when it gets warm, we Brits love to get our grill on. When I have my own place, I plan on buying a huge BBQ for my garden, where I can grill meat and vegetarian dishes alike. I’ll also make my own sangria, string up some festoon lights and invite my closest friends to join me.


I love this idea, and it’s perfect if you have a bigger garden. To pull this off, you’ll first need a projector and some speakers. You’ll also need a laptop so you can connect the two to it. Next, create comfy corners, seating areas and private cuddle dens with blankets, pillows and hay seating. Paired with fairy lights, this is the perfect atmosphere for a summer evening in the garden.


If you’re looking for something a little more high class, or if you’re looking to throw a party for a special occasion this summer, cocktails are the way to go. Luxury summer furniture from Lagoon is one way to spruce up any garden space, and installing a bar will take your party to that extra length. Personally, I would be making Long Island Ice Tea and blasting out some summer tunes…


Although luxury evenings are beautiful, sometimes you just want to sit around with friends and put the world to rights. I love the idea of having a feature fire pit in my garden. Imagine sitting around with all of your friends just talking over a beer and feeling cosy by the fire. I can’t imagine anything better.


Designing my Dream Home

Friday, 13 April 2018

If you've known me for a while, you'll know that I love interior design. I always plan how a room will look, and if it doesn't look perfect I literally lose it. In University I spent months planning what my new room would look like. I picked out the prints, candles, duvet covers and lampshades way too early, but I just couldn't control my excitement! 

A little while ago, I actually redecorated my room at home. I currently still live with my parents, so I really wanted to make the space my own when I came back after University. Now that I'm in a stable job, I'm getting the itch to move out again. Not that I don't love living at home, I actually really love it, but sometimes I just really want a space that I can create and make my own. Below is how I would design my dream home when I move out! Of course, this is all my fantasy, if I was to do this all at once I'd need a lot of money. Of course, an instant loan can help during a time of need, and it's something I'll definitely consider for when I buy a house in the future!


So for my living room, I'd want it to be a super cosy looking place. For me, this means mood lighting, lots of cushions, and a fabric sofa. At home, we've always had leather sofas, and I've found in summer that they just aren't comfortable! I also think that fabric sofas are a lot more welcoming. In terms of colour, I would splash some light grey on the walls with baby pink accents. It sounds very blogger-esque, but my metallic colours in the room would be silver and deep grey, just to give it that welcoming vibe!

I would also love a gallery wall in my living room, filled with prints from artists that I love such as Color Berry which I actually found today and have fallen in love with.  


I love the idea of having a large dining room. I would want a space where I can invite my family around for Christmas or have my friends around for Mexican and Movies. Saying this, I wouldn't want it to look too fancy. I would love to have a garden picnic bench (stick with me!) I'd paint it a deep grey, DIY cushions on the seats and install a low hanging silver light to draw focus. I feel like it would be such a cute idea.


I absolutely love baths. I would have one every day if I could, but since my parents got rid of ours, I have to get one at my boyfriend's house when I can. If I was given a blank slate, I would 100% add a large standalone bathtub in my bathroom. You know, the ones you always see in the BBC period dramas. 

Separately, I would install something from the Insignia Shower Enclosures Range, just because they look so luxurious, along with a heated towel rack to heat my towels on in winter whilst I shower.  


I love my bedroom at home so much, which is why I would probably continue with the grey and pink theme in a new home. I really like how well the colours compliment each other, and we all know pink is my favourite colour...I'd also keep my neon sign, or invest in a bigger one (similar to Kourtney Kardashians).


Although Summer only occurs for like 5 days here in the UK, I would love a garden that has a pizza oven and comfortable seating. I love the look of outdoor seating that has comfy cushions - think 80's Italian vibes. Plenty of foliage mixed with beautiful textures. I would love to sit in my garden of an evening with a glass of wine, I can't think of anything better. 

In the winter, I would obviously like to save on my heating bills (without having to freeze to death in the process). I would probably take a look at getting some new cheap windows (depending on the house I end up in). Double glazing really reduces energy bills, and they serve to the help the environment by trapping heat inside the house!

This is a collaborative post.


5 Exotic Food Destinations to Visit around the World

Thursday, 12 April 2018

If you’re a food lover like me, you’ll find yourself exploring the local cuisine when you’re abroad. I tend to look for authentic restaurants and deli’s selling the weird and wonderful. Of course, this has led to some bad stomach problems…But for the majority of the time, I’m glad I’ve tried something I never would at home! I thought I’d write up a post today about the weird and wonderful food I’ve tried from around the world, and add in some crazy delicacies that you can find around the world on your own travels too. Some of the food I tried in this post was eaten before I understood the meat trade, the extent of animal cruelty, and when I ate meat without a second thought. Although I have tried some of these, I am currently switching to a meat-free lifestyle, so I’ll add some crazy Vegan food wonders below too!


Cyprus is well known for its cuisine, and some of the weirdest food you will find in the world will come from here. When I was around 12, me and my parents went to Cyprus for our summer holiday. One night, we decided to leave the hotel and find a local restaurant offering traditional Meze dishes. As they arrive one by one, a particular dish caught my eye. It was obviously a meat, but the dish had garlic and therefore I was automatically sold. After trying the meat, I found it to be really tender and flavoursome… I was later told that it was goats brain. It made me gag a little, but it was definitely an experience!

Other dishes you can find in Cyprus include Calamari (fried squid). When I first saw this dish, I assumed it was a plate of onion rings… I was wrong. You’ll also find a range of char-grilled meat and mint dishes in tradition Cyprus Meze, it’s something to try at least once! There aren’t many veggie and vegan options in this region, unfortunately, but vegetable skewers are usually delicious in Cypriot cuisine.


One place I have always wanted to visit is Japan. Known for its magical food such as sushi, Japan’s restaurants also offer experiences like no other. Take a look at the Robot Cafe – diners get to see live action robot dances whilst they eat, and if this isn’t the coolest thing you have ever heard of, then you are, in fact, wrong. Paired with the mad chocolate and sweet options available, I’d say Japan is number 1 on my exotic and crazy food destinations. Japan is yet to move forward with their meat dishes, and Vegan options are less likely to be found in mainstream restaurants. However, you will find small cafes and independent eateries that offer wonderful Vegan dishes.


Sri Lanka is another place I would love to travel to for its cuisine. My boyfriend’s grandparents visit Sri Lanka every year and praise the cuisine whenever they come home. From shrimp fritters to coconut and vanilla curry, Sri Lankan cuisine ranges in taste, which makes it a popular destination for food lovers all over the world. It also has a beautiful atmosphere, making it perfect for couple getaways with Destination2 Adult Only Holidays.


Oysters in Borough Market, London
So, London doesn’t have many traditional foods per say (unless you count fish and chips) but the capital is home to hundreds and bizarre restaurants offering up a range of strange and delicious dishes. The first time I actually tried oysters was in London… Okay so I hated them, but at least I got to try some of the best money could buy!

Ever wanted to try an ox-cheek doughnut at 4 am? Duck and Waffle is your go to. After pork belly and mescal? Find La Bodega Negra hidden behind an adult sex shop… The possibilities to find exotic food really are endless in London, which is why it shouldn’t be missed off of your travel bucket list when you’re looking for crazy and exotic food destinations.


On another holiday with my parents, to Zakynthos, I was surprised to see Swordfish on the menu. I had never seen a dish like this on the menu before, so I thought I’d try it! I can’t explain the taste, only that it doesn’t taste like fish haha. It falls somewhere between chicken and fish – but when cooked in garlic and herbs, my god is it delicious.

Where we stayed in particular, we found that so many seafront restaurants offered amazing dishes, and I can’t recommend the island enough. The people were amazing, the atmosphere was chilled, and the exotic food was perfect.

This is a collaborative post.


Learning to Drive: The Dos and Don’ts

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

So I’ve finally started driving again! For people who don’t know me, I failed my test at 18. In my opinion, I wasn’t ready to take the practical. I was a nervous driver, and when I was thrown into a test situation, both my nerves and my anxiety got the better of me. After 6 years, I’ve finally decided to try again. Although it’s hard finding the right instructor for me, I’m determined to have my license before the end of the year. With that in mind, here are some dos and don’ts I’ve learned along the way, hope they help!


Now obviously, these are on top of feeling emotionally ready and getting in the right headspace to learn. If you don’t have any of these three, wait until you are ready. A car can wait – there’s no need to put driving in front of your mental health.


Before you take your theory or practical tests, you will need to have a provisional license. You can order this online, or contact the DVLA for some help on how to do this.


Don’t go into your theory test thinking that you’ll smash it. Believe it or not, the theory test Is quite hard, and if don’t revise then you’re just setting yourself up for failure. I used the Official DVSA Theory Test Kit, and I passed the multiple choice with 100%. The questions are exactly like the ones you will see on the test, so it ensures you don’t have any nasty surprises on the day.


When I first learned, I was with an instructor who I really got on with. Ultimately, I feel as though he pushed for my test at the wrong time, but that isn’t his fault. Since deciding to learn again, I have driven with two instructors. Both, I think, where the wrong fit for me. I got on with them, but I need an instructor who understands that I’m an anxious driver, not someone who will look over it and hope for the best. A simple google search will show you the instructors in your area, and asking for recommendations on Facebook is a great route to go down too.


Before I started driving, I had no idea how much could actually go wrong. Here are some don'ts when it comes to learning to drive.


Much like a passport, driving licenses need to be renewed. This is supposed to be done every 10 years, and can be done online and via post. It will cost you £14 to renew, which is annoying, but it beats the £1000 fine you would receive if you’re caught with an out of date license. You will also need to renew if you have lost your driving license.


It’s easy to get excited and try to smash the theory test before you begin lessons, but it’s important that you don’t Once you pass your theory test, you will need to pass your practical test within 2 years in order to obtain your full licence. It’s best to start your lessons first, then apply for your theory test. At least this way you’re not panicking trying to find a suitable instructor before your theory test runs out.


This is pretty vain, but for real, don’t let bad photos end up on your license. In my photo, I have a pixie cut. And since my hair is so thick, I literally look like a lego character. I’ll have to deal with this photo for another 4 years, so make sure you’re happy with your license photos before you send off your application!


How to Stay Safe when Dating Online

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

When I broke up with my long term boyfriend a few years ago, I encountered some…experiences with online dating. For the most part, I had a great time on adult dating sites and apps, but I also encountered some dodgy people…

With more and more women coming forward at the moment talking about their experiences of sexual harassment, I wanted to write a guide on how to stay safe when dating online, and why it doesn’t have to be an anxiety inducing time for you.


Pictures of yourself? Sure, information about your name, gender, age? All fine. Addresses, numbers and email addresses? Not so much. Keep online dating profiles specific to you, but not so specific that you end up finding weird men on your doorstep at 2am…

When it comes to nudes, my opinion is that if you think you can trust this person with them, then go for it. But if you’re a bit dubious, stay away. Sending nudes can be fun, unless you find your titties on the ‘gram in the morning. If you’re in doubt, keep your face out of your pictures, that way you can deny it’s you if the pictures ever crop up again…


Whether you’re meeting up for sex or a date, always meet them in a public space first. This way, you can get a feel for their character. I know that there’s always a risk when meeting someone and that you don’t always know who they really are, but putting yourself in a public space allows you to dismiss yourself openly and leave under the eyes of others.


If you’re literally on the lookout for sex dating (no judgement) then make sure you practice safe sex. Condoms can admittedly be a mood killer, but so can finding out that you have an STD…

Other forms of contraceptive don’t protect you from catching STD’s, so pills are great for avoiding unwanted pregnancies, but condoms are great for avoiding a nasty disease. Always practice safe sex.


Usually when you’re talking with someone online, you can be a bit more open with them. When I was talking to potentials dates online, I found it quite easy to be myself. If I would say something cringe, I could just get up, make myself a brew and try to forget what I said haha. My point is that you can be yourself, outline your intentions (just for sex, looking for a relationship etc) and enjoy speaking to someone. It’s all fun at the end of the day!


This, in my opinion, is the most important thing to keep in mind when online dating. It really isn’t worth trying to impress a hot guy if who you’re portraying is not yourself. Talk openly about your likes and dislikes, crack jokes and be open with them. If you’re looking for a relationship, this is super important in terms of finding the right match for you.


Don’t Let the Waterfall Effect Control Your Life

Monday, 9 April 2018

We all have this innate feeling within us when we look at other people. We can see how they are living, and then for no apparent reason we compare their life to ours. Call it envy, call it jealousy, call it anything you want. We all judge how good or bad we’re doing in life based off of mirroring someone else. 

In psychology, there is a concept called the waterfall effect. It consists of looking at moving objects for some time, then looking back at something that is not moving, and having the illusion it is also moving, but in the opposite direction. I used to get this a lot when I would play Guitar Hero.

In a way, this is what happens to so many people around the world. We see others enjoying life and strive for something similar. This can lead to all kinds of mental health conditions that make life even harder than it already is. Depression is one of the more common conditions, and comparing yourself to others can make you feel inadequate, unloved and unwanted. So how can you stop any effects of the waterfall effect happening to you?


We’re all creative and want to be able to live a free life, but it's just not who we are sometimes. Many of us need a routine to get things done. Routine gives us parameters and allows us to maintain our lifestyles more closely. It's very easy to get on the rails but just as easy to come off them.

Make short-term goals and stick to them. It can be anything, what you’re aiming for here is the satisfaction of orderly behavior. The most immediate feeling of dread that comes over us when we feel we’re not going anywhere is the absolute lack of progression. Progressing in something makes us feel as if we’re improving and evolving, i.e. a sensation of moving forward in life. These goals can be something that involves improving your health such as workouts, eating healthy, or they could be something for mental relief such as writing a paragraph or page of your thoughts. After each month, look back over what you have or have not completed. Sit down and relive the moments of triumph and weakness and willfully be engulfed in the emotion of challenging yourself. For the next month, set goals a little bit more difficult or carry on with the same. Routine provides structure, and thus it gives you a real sense of control over what happens in your life. The decisions you make do matter and are reinforced when you carry them out such as sticking to the routine physically.


It's undeniable that people who are more likely to be emotionally unstable will show signs of frantic behavior when in an intimate relationship. You could be more clingy, meaning you need your partner as some kind of support. It could be for your feelings and worries, to express them and talk about them in detail. It might also be because you are in love and want to crush any doubts that you have about them not loving you in the same manner back.

Relationships only work when two people are reading from the same book and are on the same page. You don’t have to be on the same paragraph, sentence or word, just in the ballpark region.

So, what if the love of your life is ready and wanting children, but you’re not there yet? First of all, remember that you are your own person, even though your love is incredibly strong, they do not own you. Feelings of guilt and shame are ever-present when two people really love each other, and one or both cannot give the other true happiness. Be wary.

Place speed bumps along the way – talk to each other and understand how one another feels. If you’re ready for kids, go for it! But if you’re sure you don’t want them, don’t frantically google ‘’ordered my contraceptive pill’’ behind their back. Talk to your partner. Understand where each of you sit in terms of the relationship.


At one point in our lives, we all wish we were the ones in charge, not just of our personal lives but our professions too. Being a shy person, unfortunately, limits what you can achieve in the real world. Introverts are less likely to get promotions and thus, be the ones who will take orders rather than give them. Maybe it's just who you are, and your personality doesn't allow you to being the kind of person you have to be in order to be a leader. Other times it's just a matter of being pushed.

So how could you possibly make your mark on the hierarchy at work and get noticed? A simple manner would be to be superb at the roles you are given now. Do the thorough job of what you’re tasked with day in and day out. Put all your focus into just doing the best possible. It's a slow step, but you need to get comfortable with working to a high standard.

Offer to help the person who is one step higher than you, say for example the manager or team leader. Usually, they will do administrative tasks on their own, but if they see you’re a trustworthy person via your excellent work standard, they’re more likely to take you under their wing. There are two reasons as to why this is a great tactic.

  • - You don’t have to work in front of everyone such as becoming the organizer or taking on some role that involves public speaking because you’re working one on one with the superior. 
  • - You’re getting a closer look as to what they want from you, and you’re in direct contact with them. 

The waterfall effect happens to all of us. We see other people moving ahead of us, and we get a tight feeling in our chests. It can lead to panic attacks because we feel as if we’re not moving forward in our lives. Feeling as if your life is not making an impact in the world is a sinking experience. This doesn't help when we have mental health problems either. But the guiding light is to adopt a strategy of one step at a time.


Weight Loss, Embracing Myself and Living My Best Life

Thursday, 5 April 2018

I’m overweight, and I’m starting to accept that. I’ve been through a long journey with my body, and I’ll continue to struggle with it for the rest of my life. But I need to stop letting my body define who I am.

You see, I was brought up “seeing thin”; thin models, thin actors, thin singers. Every single magazine I read told me to lose weight, and every time I went to school, kids in my year would be talking about how much weight they lost that week.

In year 9, I succumbed to an eating disorder. I never addressed it, which I think has hurt me more in the long run, but I digress. There were times when I would eat a banana a day in order to lose weight, and the sick thing is that I was praised for it by others. I would attend kickboxing, trampolining, and exercise classes religiously. If I ate “too much” food, I would vomit it back up, and with my friend, I would devise new ways to be sick without it hurting our throats too much. I ended up obsessing over food, and it’s something that ultimately stayed with me for a very long time.

On occasion, I will still purge if I’ve eaten too much. I’ll berate myself constantly for eating too much food or for thinking about it too often, and this is a huge problem for me. I still struggle with my self-identity, and I feel as though I stick out in a crowd because of my weight. I'm certain that my issues with food have led to other mental health problems, which is something I discuss with my therapist.

When I went to university, the excessive alcohol and takeaways took their toll on me. I ended up gaining around 4 stone in total. This was made worse when I had to take steroids for eye problems a few years later. At my biggest, I was 18 stone. I’ve lost a stone since then, and I’m currently following Slimming World in order to control my weight. But this is a whole other issue for me.

I find that when I follow a diet, I’m okay. I’m militant, I count my syns, I research new menus and I like to explore my food choices. However, when I slip, I fall. A slice of pizza will do it, or a sandwich, or anything off plan. I’ll end up in a black hole of binge eating and forget all of the hard work I put in when I was dieting.

I think happiness will fall in between the hardcore dieting and the binge pattern, and it’s something I need to figure out. I’ve tried following Slimming World during the week and having a free weekend. I’ve tried forgiving myself when I stumble, but in all honesty, neither work. I need to exercise my self-control, but I think it’s lost or jumped ship, or just bailed from my life entirely.

I want to start writing a weekly update on accepting who I am, losing weight and body positivity. I want it to be a kind of open diary – where I talk about my week etc. Originally I had this idea to start a vlog, but a part of me knows that it’s too personal and hard to talk about openly. I find solace in writing, and I think sitting down each week and addressing my thoughts for the week will be a good thing. So, until next week…


© Gina Kay Daniel • Theme by Maira G.