There are moments in your life that you work towards for months, years, possibly decades.
The moments that make up milestones to look back on in years to come. Today was one of ours. I feel incredibly lucky right now.
So, I’m well into my 30th year now, when I turned 30 a colleague told he seriously thought I was around 22, and I’m going to hang onto that, for as long as possible!
Friends told me it was nothing, that turning 30 doesn’t change anything, but obviously I am still sitting here worrying about wrinkles and cellulite. After over 6 months of woes I’ve finally found time to evaluate the last few years, and how I got on with my 30 before 30.
30 before 30
1. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.
In December 2014 we finally made the 24 hour journey to Sydney and then onto the Queensland coast and all the way out to the Great Barrier Reef. I have the most amazing memories from this trip, not only did I spend a day snorkelling the reef with my partner and my parents but I was treated to an amazing flight over the reef, the famous (and beautiful) Heart Reef and the Whitsunday Islands. To date this was the best flight of my life, I also got to sit upfront as co-pilot! The photos speak for themselves.
2. Buy a house.
Good things come to those who wait, hopefully.
3. Revisit the Indian Ocean.
In September 2013 I made it back to paradise after our first trip to the Maldives in 2009. This time it was the wonderful Seychelles for another 30th birthday celebration. I won’t ever forget it for so many reasons, the main being that my soon to be husband asked me to marry him midway through our trip.
4. Own a designer handbag
It may not be the Prada I spent years coveting but for me it’s about moments not things right now, so my bargain Osprey and MK bags are adequate.
5. Own a pair of designer shoes.
I’m going to say that the Vivienne Westwood shoes my cousins just bought me count in this. They were a complete and utter bargain.
6. Buy my own car.
I’m pretty lucky, my fiance and I share the same taste in cars, so when it came to choosing our first car together we had no issues, we fell in love instantly. I barely drive her, but she’s a beauty and she’s all ours.
7. Own something from Tiffany’s.
I coveted a beautiful Tiffany bracelet for years and at Christmas it became mine.
8. Get a pay rise.
Over the last few years I have progressed my career, because I enjoy what I do I’m continually looking to further my career and improve my knowledge with courses, webinars and self teaching.
9. Stay at a Mandarin Oriental/Raffles hotel.
We stayed at Raffles hotel on Praslin Island in the Seychelles. It’s my number one hotel. It’s worth every single penny. It was an incredible experience, from the wonderful villa we stayed in to the epic service we received.
10. Stroke a Safari Animal.
It may not have been on Safari in Africa (one day) but when a Giraffe stuck its head into the jeep during our tour at Longleat Safari I was beaming. And then in Queensland, Australia I got to cuddle a cute, cuddly and sleepy koala and stroke and feed a couple of kangaroos and Wallabies. My dream would to be to visit the Black Jaguar and Lions in Mexico City. Check them out.
11. Start and maintain a gym routine again.
I’ve rejoined the gym, and am trying to get back into a routine [so that’s this one half ticked!] This morning I read that we need to just take 1% of our day to get a good work out in, that’s nothing when you look at the bigger picture.
12. Perfect my Make Up routine
I wish I could afford to have my lashes, eyebrows and my nails done every few weeks, but I can’t, so instead I have finally worked out what basics suit me. I dabbled into the world of HD Brows and left happy. Over the years I’ve gone through phases of a make up bag stuffed with everything from Channel, Armani and Dior, to all the usual high street brands. Now I’m really happy sticking to the high street until my priorities of travel and house saving change. The contents of my make up bag doesn’t cost a fortune but everything works for me.
I am still on the hunt for a long-lasting and non smudge liquid liner though, for now Mac and Stila are keeping me happy, but the best of the best is yet to be found.
13. Visit the Cotswolds.
A close friend had the most beautiful countryside wedding in the heart of the Cotswolds, to this day it’s been one of my favourite weddings that I’ve attended. We barely spend anytime exploring our own country, instead opting to see as much of the world as we can before we settle down.
14. Go on a Hen do.
Since I added this, there have been a few, they are as fun as you can imagine, they’ve ranged from phallic straws to sophisticated Gin afternoon tea.
15. Buy a MacBook.
I took the plunge, and took advantage of my current student discount and bought myself the MacBook Pro of my dreams after years and years of coveting.
16. Visit Dubai.
As we flew with Emirates to Australia, it seemed very fitting to stop in Dubai for a few days on the way, and what a wonderful whirlwind three days they were. Dubai surprised me, I thought I would hate it…but I loved it and can’t wait to return again soon.
17. Save up a deposit
This should have come above ‘Buying a House’ but nevermind. Saving is hard and I’ve had to give up frivolous things and be really strict, but it’s worth it, otherwise buying a house would never become a reality. I have a spreadsheet, I allocate spending for travel each year to make sure we still have the balance in our life. I’d happily forgo eating out, takeaways, trips to the cinema, clothes, alcohol, day trips or uk trips to make sure we can buy the house we love and see as much of the world as we can while we can. I’m pretty good at sourcing a bargain so it helps.
18. Own the 10 key wardrobe pieces/staples.
Because of the above, this is still something that’s ongoing, I am still coverting the perfect thigh high suede flat boots but just can’t part with the £500 that the dream Stuart Wiseman boots cost. Instead I make do with the odd Primark trip, a bargain sales buy (hello Zara) and selling on eBay.
19. Start and maintain a travel/lifestlye blog.
I’m here trying my hardest to push past my self doubt, to ignore the pressure I put on myself and finish the dozen half written posts I’m too scared to publish.
20. Learn how to decorate cakes.
On a drizzly Sunday afternoon in a Hampstead pub we were taught how to decorate cupcakes, I wasn’t too bad at all and surprisingly nor was my fiance!
21. Learn more about Photography and InDesign/Photoshop
A while back I did a 2 days introduction course to InDesign, it made me realise I’ve self-taught myself pretty well as I was already doing everything we covered and found the course too easy. Of course there is always more to learn, but I’m incredibly happy with all that I’ve achieved so far. I am currently doing a Photography diploma online. Online learning is hard work, trying to get that motivation to sit down and turn off Netflix is pretty hard. But I am persisting and practising by making various friends wedding stationary, artwork for prints and now my own wedding stationary.
22. Learn to cook something new every month.
The internet is an amazing place for amazing recipes. Although we might not cook something new every month we try as much as we can, i love trying something new, so this is something i love working on.
23. Eat at a 3 Michelin Star Restaurant
My amazing cousins treated me to a pretty spectacular lunch at Alan Ducasse at The Dorchester. We were spoiled with three courses of some of the tastiest food I’ve ever had and sent home with a super cute goody bag. Couldn’t recommend it enough.
24. Watch a west-end show.
The Lion King blew me away, The Woman In Black terrified me and Kim Cattrall in Sweet Bird Of Love left me in awe.
25. Get Contact Lenses.
They may cost me a fortune but contact lenses are my preferred option. I love my tortoiseshell frames but for comfort and ease , it’s contacts all the way now.
26. Read 12 books in 12 months.
I have trashy taste in books, don’t judge me. It allows me to escape the real world. I accomplished this quite easily with the help of the Twighlight saga, 50 Shades of Grey, The Hunger Games trilogy and various other non fiction reads.
27. Get Engaged.
I added this to my list in the vague hope it would happen one day, a girl can dream right? We had always talked of our future but an engagement wasn’t really on the cards for a few years and until we’d bought our first home. So when it did happen, it wasn’t expected and it was to me, the most perfect proposal that I could have ever imagined (other than he didn’t film it).
29. Fix my smile.
This was one of the best decisions I have ever made, spurred on by a beautiful proposal, the support of my family and fiancé, and the threat of wedding photos I plucked up the courage to visit a Dentist (for the first time in 10+years). It was worth every appointment, all the discomfort and every single penny. Read here for my experience.
30. Get a professional Massage.
Where else is better than Thailand to get your first professional Massage. After a not so great experience (arriving to find the whole hotel rented out for a 4 day wedding for the 3 days we were there and our room faced it all) we were compensated with a wonderful 1 hour full body Thai Massage. It was heaven, and helped me feel less anxious about the fact my 60-year-old father had to endure constant noise and loud music for the 3 days that we had set aside for ‘pure relaxation’ during our three weeks in Asia.
I honestly loved writing my list and setting myself these ideal goals. I found it gave me things to strive to, to aim for. It isn’t about ticking off experiences like they are meaningless, but prioritising and listing the things i want to experience the most. It gives me focus to achieve everything I want to achieve. My twenties were so full of so many other amazing things, so many spectacular moments and accomplishments. Here is to my thirties, and the next chapter of adventures.
40 before 40? Wow, things just got really real!
It seems that life got in the way, doubt seeped in and I never quite fell into a content routine for #SnapTravelShop. I think I’m ready now to make time for this, to take some more risks and write about something I love – sharing the adventures I live for.
I have many posts in my drafts, I haven’t quite had the confidence to post them, to put my words, feelings and opinions out there. But if something doesn’t scare you, it’s no longer a challenge, and challenging yourself is the best thing you can do to succeed, well that’s how I feel anyway.
In my everyday life I love a challenge. ‘Can we create this?’ Or ‘Can we make Videos?’ …as soon as someone poses a questions like this I want to know how, I want to gain that knowledge. So i find tutorials and teach myself how. It happens a lot, but over the years it’s easy to forget how much you teach yourself, and how much you’ve accomplished.
Sometimes you need to look back and see how far you’ve come, assess yourself, like a personal 121. Congratulate yourself on your successes and remind yourself of the goals you have for the next month, year or even 5 years. I always crave a new adventure, a project, something to look forward to, something to work towards.
The next 12 months should be pretty crazy, I’m getting married and buying a house and trying to progress and push myself further career wise, I want to learn more and more. So really what I want to say is, I really hope you’ll join me for the ride. No doubt it’s going to be a little bumpy but hopefully they’ll be some pretty amazing adventures too!
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.’ – Jim Rohn
For years I have always talked myself out of things, be it purchases, relationships, holidays, job opportunities, courses, driving or buying that limited edition pair of shoes that have never been available since (yes, it still haunts me). You name it and I have probably told myself that I couldn’t do it, shouldn’t buy it or it wouldn’t work out. I have opened countless emails, seen something amazing that I want, over thought it and then deleted the email or walked away.
Then something changed, I realised talking myself out of amazing opportunities wasn’t helping me, it wasn’t making my life any better, and I wasn’t protecting myself from anything. I decided maybe it was time to take a leap of faith.
I’m surrounded by ambitious people, and people who take risks and are living their dreams. I’m an ambitious person, but not a risk taker; always scared of making the wrong decision, always visualising the worst case scenario and expecting the worst. I realised that I needed to say ‘yes’ more, take a few more risks and live more of the life I really wanted to live. Time to follow my heart and stop my head doing all the talking. After all, if you don’t try something you won’t actually know if it’s the right thing to do. So I decided to start doing all the things I’ve always wanted to do, and take a few more (calculated) risks.
I started with something small, I booked a Cruise around the Caribbean, I took a risk as it wasn’t planned for, but it was a ridiculously good deal. Guess what? Everything that needed to fall into place to make it happen, did. It all worked itself out perfectly, and in the end it was an amazingly unforgettable 2 weeks. Since then I have tried as much as possible to say yes to things. To not over think the my purchases, to take that leap of faith (be it the Waterpark ride or in life), even if it’s just saying yes to things I wouldn’t normally. Slowly but surely taking small leaps and putting myself out there a little more, and since then I’ve noticed a such a great difference.
I also learnt that shying away from the things you’re worried about or scared of won’t help you progress, saying no, whether it to yourself or others can hold you back. I realised the only person losing out was me. Saying yes a lot more means I am living a life I love and still getting to where I want to be, but this way I’m enjoy the journey a hell of a lot more!
So, stop worrying so much, trust your intuition and take that little leap of faith.
Book that flight, jump on that plane and live your dreams.
For years and years I was petrified of the Dentist, I avoided visiting for over 10 years. At 16 I didn’t need Braces, I had straight teeth, however when my wisdom teeth came through and my mouth became overcrowded my front teeth looked bucked. For years I hated my smile, I hated every photo of myself, after getting engaged in late 2013 I decided it was time to stop wallowing, stop being scared of the unknown and do something about it. I wanted a smile I was proud of and a smile I wouldn’t hate in all our wedding photos.
I bit the bullet (no pun intended) and did a lot of Googling, a lot of research and asked for recommendations. A close friend recommended her Dentist, a close friend of hers. After a couple of calls to practices and a little more research I was ready to book a consultation with the recommended Broadway Dental practice in North London.
At my free consultation my dentist was friendly, calming and entirely knowledgeable. Going in I was filled with anxiety, I was scared and nervous of what they would say about my horrible teeth and how much all the work I thought I would need after all these years would cost. I left feeling happy, relaxed and ready to start the process, not once did I feel pressured either.
I went for 6 Month Smiles, they’re ceramic white Braces that are much less noticeable than traditional silver Braces, plus the process only takes between 4-9 months. Next I was scheduled in for my 1st proper appointment, there I was given my first ever filling, molds were taken of my teeth and some before photos were taken. I then went from being someone that spent 10 years avoiding the dentist to a 1.5 hour appointment and signing up to months and months of ongoing appointments.
It’s a real commitment. You have to be serious about the results and making time to attend the appointments and looking after your Braces/teeth, otherwise it’s not worth the investment (both time and money). Once my Braces were attached I had a week of mouth ache, my teeth hurt, but I consoled myself with a few paracetamol and told myself they should hurt, they’re being moved after all! The wires/brackets did rub my mouth and it did feel weird, after a lot of talking the inside of my mouth would be sore, and sometimes I’d feel really self conscious. Most people didn’t even notice the Braces, and in most photos you can barely see them. My fiancé did however lovingly liken me to a camel moving its mouth/lips for my time with them (that’s love right there). I struggled with any solid food for about a week, I missed being able to eat Baguettes, hard crusted bread and popcorn. I also missed that extra 10 minutes sleep in the morning and not having to brush my teeth after every single meal without feeling gross. However it was all worth it, the weirdness, the pain, the ulcers, and the rushing to appointments from work.
After around the 6 months I had the Ceramic Braces removed (it feels very strange and the sound during removal is an interesting one, thankfully my dentist warned me about the noise before – sounds worse than it is). With my previous research and after speaking to my dentist I was aware that sometimes you can have discoloration from the Braces. As a big coffee drinker I was worried, so made sure I changed to always drinking through straws, I was happy to find I had no discoloration at all. I was also told to change from whiting toothpaste to a combination of Colgate Total and a high fluoride prescription toothpaste. I am likely to continue with drinking through straws to stop my teeth staining.
After having the brackets removed it was onto the final tweaking with Trays/Clear orthodontic aligners, what most people would think of/know as InvisalignHalf way through my experience I wondered if I should have gone with clear aligners, but now I’ve tried the method I am 100% happy with my decision. Personally I think clear aligners are great if you are flexible enough to visit the dentist every 7-12 days, are ok with having to take the trays out (it’s not always simple, the first few times were hard) for every single meal and snack for at least 12-24 months. I can see the attractions – they can barely be seen, and they don’t rub the inside of your mouth. Personally they felt more inconvenient and intrusive, but that said they have completely stopped my snacking and I have lost my sweet tooth. For me the annoyance and the fact they take a lot longer than fixed braces to move your teeth reaffirmed my decision. I’d rather 9 months than 12-24!
I’m 2 trays away from my final smile and I can’t wait to compare the before and after. Once I am done I will have a permanent small retainer fitted behind my teeth and also wear a clear aligner at night. After the time and money spent on perfecting my smile I don’t want it going anywhere. My journey wasn’t pain free but it was completely bearable and my dentist and the staff at Broadway Dental were always helpful, friendly and approachable. I have gone from completely dreading the dentist to feeling completely comfortable with my visits. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them, and already have to a couple of very close friends! The decision to actually do it was the best thing I ever did. I haven’t regretted my decision, my dentist or 6 Month Smiles for a second. I haven’t been paid for this review and I paid in full for my treatment. I wanted to give a truthful and informative view of my experience because if anyone is thinking about getting adult Braces, do it, if your smile is making you unhappy it will change your life positively, it certainly has mine.
“Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel’s immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way.”
Around 18 months ago I decided I needed a 30 before 30 list, my Bucket List was and still is growing so much. So, I wanted a list of achievable, exciting and challenging things to accomplish in the few years before I hit the big three-zero. I wanted things that weren’t too ostentatious, and importantly things I wanted/want to achieve now rather than later.
In the past 18 months I have managed to tick off a few, and it’s hit me that with just 11 months to accomplish the rest I need to up my game.
Many things can sit on someone’s Bucket List and never get accomplished, the push to do them isn’t there, the sense of a life time to complete them can mean it’s easy to leave joining the gym until tomorrow or signing up for that cake class until next time it’s on Groupon. (tick and tick!)
So, here goes! Plus, once they’re here it feels like there’s no going back!
30 before 30
[ ] 1. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.
[ ] 2. Buy a house.
[X] 3. Revisit the Indian Ocean.
[X] 4. Own a designer handbag.
[ ] 5. Own a pair of designer shoes.
[X] 6. Buy my own car.
[ ] 7. Own something from Tiffany’s.
[X] 8. Get a pay rise.
[X] 9. Stay at a Mandarin Oriental/Raffles hotel.
[X] 10. Stroke a Safari Animal.
[ ] 11. Start and maintain a gym routine again.
[ ] 12. Perfect my Make Up routine
[X] 13. Visit the Cotswolds.
[X] 14. Go on a Hen do.
[ ] 15. Buy a Mac.
[ ] 16. Visit Dubai.
[X] 17. Save up a deposit (ongoing)
[ ] 18. Own the 10 key wardrobe pieces/staples
 19. Start and maintain a travel/lifestlye blog.
[X] 20. Learn how to decorate cakes.
[ ] 21. Learn more about Photography and InDesign/Photoshop
[ ] 22. Learn to cook something new every month.
[X] 23. Eat at a 3 Michelin Star Restaurant
[X] 24. Watch a west-end show.
[X] 25. Get Contact Lenses.
[ ] 26. Read 12 books in 12 months.
[X] 27. Get Engaged.
[ ] 28. DeClutter my Wardrobe
[ ] 29. Fix my smile.
[X] 30. Get a professional massage.
I want to document the next 11 months, the final months of life as a twenty-something. I’m excited yet apprehensive. Here goes nothing!
I’d love to hear about your Bucket-list or your ’30 before 30′ so please share yours with me!
Sometimes we need to take that leap of faith to get the things we want from life…sometimes the past holds us back from our future, have faith, take a leap, live.
As my friends will vouch I love to find a bargain, to know I managed to save myself a few pounds or even better a few hundred pounds gives me a little bit of satisfaction, and of course its the little things that matter. I find my most expensive purchases (after bills and holidays) is beauty and cosmetic products. I don’t spend ridiculously on my choice in products but am a huge Dior cosmetics fan (after my beloved Chanel Foundation was discontinued and the replacement never quite living up to it).
Whenever I’m at the Airport I always try to pay a visit to the Mac and Dior duty free counters, otherwise I tend to only buy things on offer or if they are my daily essentials. Apparently most females waste £1k a year on unused beauty products; I didn’t even think I spent that much on cosmetics in one year!
A couple of weeks ago my favourite Mac Prep and Prime primer ran out. Other than complete love for this product (smooths my skin out, great base for foundation, makes my foundation last longer and doesn’t smell terrible like many i’ve tried). I have two gripes with this primer, the fact it only comes in factor 50 (I returned from Tuscany with a completely different colour face to body) and the packaging. It’s the worst Mac packaging I’ve experienced.
After being completely unsure if there was any product left in the very stiff, odd shaped bottle, I decided to cut it open and I discovered (like with the well known Urban Decay eye primer) that there was still around 10 days worth of primer left. So 5 minutes later I had saved myself a dangerous lunchtime trip to Boots.