The Single Girl's Guide To Being Single And Happy

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Today is January 22nd which means we are just a few weeks away from Valentine's Day and for the 23rd consecutive year, I am single for it. Now if you ask me, I think that's a blimmin' depressing big achievement and one which warrants me the right to provide you guys with a professional guide on how to be single and happy.

The first rule to being a single pringle and being happy is to stick your middle finger up to the huge PR crisis which the single girl has unwillingly fallen victim to ever since...well ever. I'm talking Bridget Jones dripping lonely tears into her Ben & Jerry's Phish Food, I'm talking "Jennifer Aniston when will you have a kid god dammit" and 3 series of us laughing at the tragic spinster Miranda.

As soon as we reject this tragic portrayal of a single woman and put an end to this immediate association with being single with being unhappy can we truly begin to be single and happy. Because the thing is, being single can be great. Once you finish crying tears into your Ben & Jerry's tub (after you've finished it of course) and you've sobbed your way through the Notebook whilst polishing off all that leftover Christmas prosecco wailing into the darkness about how you will never have a Noah and Allie love story (*spoiler alert: neither will your friends in actual relationships - that shit's just for Hollywood*), you soon realise that there truly is no better time to be single than in your twenties.

So here's my guide on how to make the best of your single years at at time when your Grandma is on the verge of a nervous breakdown if you turn up to one more family event without a partner and everyone is desperately trying to set you up with their cousin's best friend's Uncle's Son...

1. SAY YES TO EVERYTHING

One of the greatest things about being single is not having to divide your time between you and your other half. Want to spend 12 hours binge watching Prison Break? go right ahead honey. Want to piss off to Australia for 6 months to "find yourself', you go Felicia and have a holiday romance with Jon the Aussie from your hostel while you're at it. The beauty of having nobody to consider in your life decisions is that you can be completely and utterly selfish with your time and there honestly is no better time to revel in that, than in your twenties. Because that time will soon be robbed from us when further down the line we are married with kids and suddenly our lives take a backseat and our idea of being spontaneous is getting a takeaway on a Thursday night rather than waiting until Friday. When you're in a relationship, constantly having to consider your other half's feelings can limit what you do and that element of spontaneity in your life is lost. There's a reason why more single people go travelling than those in relationships after all, so if an opportunity arises to travel or to relocate, than grab it with both hands.

2. THE WORLD  TINDER IS YOUR OYSTER 

I myself have a very vocal love/hate relationship with Tinder. But despite the assholes I have to entertain on it and all the fake laughs I have had to put into practice on very mediocre dates, there is an element of fun and spontaneity attached to it and there's something very satisfying about knowing that you can log-on to Tinder at any time, from any place and arrange a date within a matter of hours. Tinder brings out the sassier alter-ego in me I never knew existed (I think we'll call her Shakira) and I quite like it. Many Friday evenings have been spent painting my face in the bathroom at work and dousing my body in Chanel Chance, ready for a night of cocktail consuming and outrageous flirting and I really bloody enjoy the adrenalin dating brings with it. You never truly know who's gonna turn up to your date and that's where the excitement lies. Will I fancy them? Will I want to slap them? Will they get really drunk and cry about their ex to me? Will I want to jump on them? Will we both get so drunk we end up in McDonald's demolishing a Big Mac together at 2am? Who knows Shakira. The world is your oyster with Tinder, so do yourself a favour and embrace it honey. Do it for the 80 year old Nan's out there that are still stuck with the first man they ever kissed from youth group because their only option was Dave with the receding hairline at 21, or Kevin with the dodgy eyes and as a consequence, have had to live a lifetime of trimming their hubby's ever-growing nose hairs. 

3. SPENDING TIME ALONE CAN BE FUN 

There's more to life than waking up to the smell of the same person's scalp everyday, so before this becomes your sad, sad reality, starfish to your heart's content, roll around in those biscuit crumbs in your bed without judgement and carpe-diem your singledom. Re-read the entire Harry Potter set whilst rolling around in those crumbs, watch every Netflix original series that exists and spend your weekends getting paralytic at a bottomless brunch with all your single pals, whilst your friends in relationships spend their Sunday's strolling round Morrisons for 2 hours arguing over air freshener scents to mask the smell of his disgusting shits, before meal prepping their food for the week and changing the bedsheets...that shit cray. These are your years to do all the things you've always wanted to do and you don't always need a partner in crime to do that, despite everybody insisting you do. If you're in alone on a Saturday night, rather than crying about it and begrudgingly lowering your standards on Tinder so you're guaranteed a 90% response rate, run yourself a bath, light yourself some candles (just not that Jo Malone one - that shit's for decoration), devour a whole family size bag of Maltesers without judgement and watch whatever the hell you like on Netflix. Wanna watch The Princess Diaries and get in a strop with your Nan because she hasn't turned up at your door informing you that you're actually the Princess of Genovia, then be my guest. Revel in 'me time' and never feel sad for doing so. 

4. LOVE THYSELF

The biggest secret to being single and happy is to love thyself. Being single often results in you (or your Nan) wondering what's wrong with you. Am I too sassy? Too Tall? Too curvy? Too different? Too weird? Are those Instagram likes on that selfie lying to me on the daily? And I say to hell with that. Just because you're single does not instantly infer that there must be something wrong with you, or insinuate that nobody wants you, like so many of us are made to believe by the media. (I feel your pain Jen). Men aren't intimidated by you like your friends insist on telling you, you just haven't found the right person for you yet. Ladies, Rihanna is single, so honestly we got this, we good. So rather than wasting time wondering what's wrong with you and sobbing to your Mum about how nobody loves you (trust me I've done this), invest that time elsewhere and indulge in a little bit of self-love. Because if nobody else does, I like me. I think I'm rather funny, I make myself laugh on the daily at least. I think I'm alright looking, I mean probably a solid 6, sometimes a 7 with the right lighting and I am a good laugh. I am certainly not a girl to just have on your arm that's for sure. I can hold a conversation, I have cracking banter and am easily pleased (this isn't a subtle find me on Tinder I'm the girl of your dreams add by the way fellas) and on the psycho girlfriend scale, I'd firmly position myself the opposite end to Megan Mckenna. All in all I'd say I'm a rather good catch and most importantly, I like me and I'm the one who has to spend 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with me. So rather than worrying about what's wrong with yourself, worry about the poor sod who is currently plodding along through life missing out on your shitty jokes and Nigella cooking skills (just without the sexy voice) and love thyself. 

Although it may not feel like it at certain times (especially not on Valentine's Day), singledom is a precious commodity and will be snatched from you before you know it, so rather than wasting this precious commodity by moaning about it and wishing it away, bathe in all it's glory and make the most of this beautiful time of spontaneity, self-exploration and selfishness. Wake up in a stranger's bed in Clapham if that's what you wanna do. Quit your job and move to Australia for a year if that's what you wanna do, hell, that's what everybody else seems to be doing these days. Just go out there and grab singledom by the balls before your life becomes a joint bank account and shopping for the bed which you'll have to share for the rest of your life (crumbs and all).

Sabrina
xoxo
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My (First Ever) New Year's Resolutions

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I'm not usually one to set myself New Years resolutions aside from all the usual cliche bollocks of "I'm gonna drag my ass to the gym everyday after work" (never happens) and "I'm not going to drink in January, my body is a temple" (also never happens, as you can't Wine Wednesday without the wine now can you?). But it was New Years Eve and I received a message from a friend asking me what my New Year resolutions were and it actually made me stop and realise that I do actually want to set myself some New Years Resolutions this year. I never felt the need nor desire to before as I was a student, so all I was concerned about was getting to my graduation day without doing a Britney and shaving all my hair off and attacking my lecturer with an umbrella, but now I'm 23 (how, what, why?!) and on that what the hell am I doing with my life path, I can't continue to plod along like I have been doing for the last 23 years of my life. I will be 24 this July and I am not in the slightest bit happy with the idea of plodding along for another year. So it's time to do more of what I love this year and to stop worrying about what everybody else is doing and focus on what I want to be doing this year. So here we go..

READ MORE.


Considering I have a BA Hons in English Literature, it's actually pretty shameful that I'm having to set myself this resolution. Ever since I learnt to read at the age of 5, I fell in love with reading and spent half of my childhood with my face buried in a book. There was no Sky TV back then (well not in my household at least), mobile phones weren't a thing and iPad's and the other countless technological distractions that exist nowadays were certainly not a thing either. If you were bored, you watched TV or you read a book. Simple. Hence why my love of reading took up such a big part of my time. But then life happens. Exams happen, University happens, iPhone's happen and just like that, there's 493274523402 other distractions in my life to occupy my time with in place of reading. Due to having to read 2 books on average a week for my University course, 'reading for fun' soon became a thing of the past and reading soon became both a chore and an obligation, rather than a desire. I endured 4 years of reading hundreds of dull, highly intellectual books which struck no relevance to my life, written by unknown authors so after the day of my graduation I quite frankly never wanted to pick up a book again. (well not for a very long time at least). 

But almost 2 years on from my graduation I am finally beginning to fall back in love with reading again and I am determined to discover my inner bookworm again. Reading is a beautiful thing once you get into the zone. It offers us a fictional escape from reality and occupies our minds completely, leaving us to forget about whatever things are weighing on our mind. It's the ultimate form of relaxation and no amount of Twitter/Instagram scrolling on your iPhone will compare. So my resolution is to put down my iPhone, stop wasting hour upon hour refreshing and scrolling my feeds and to pick up a book instead. I will read on my commute both there and back (and leave my iPhone firmly in my pocket). I will leave my phone on the other side of my bedroom at night and instead of scrolling my way to sleep, I will read for 30 mins a night just like I used to, until I fall asleep.

TAKE MORE PICTURES.

After studying Photography for my A levels, I absolutely fell in love with both film and digital photography. I would never leave the house without my camera and would never dream of going to another city or country without bringing my camera along with me. But fast forward a few years and I soon succumbed to laziness and resorted to snapping away on my iPhone instead. This is one of my biggest regrets as as I look back now at holiday pictures from countries I'd never visited before and all I have is a bunch of blurry, poor quality pictures which aren't even worthy of being printed out. As much as I love the convenience of the iPhone camera for my beloved Instagram, it is by no means worthy (or capable) of replacing an actual camera. Yes, it may require more effort to take a camera around and away with me, but photos are irreplaceable and Photography is a beautiful thing. I miss just wandering the streets of London and foreign cities and snapping away on my DSLR at random doors, street art, fascinating buildings, sculptures, people, landscapes, or simply anything that caught my eye. I am going to make a conscious effort to carry my DSLR around with me, so that I will always have my camera with me whenever a good photo opportunity arises, because there is nothing worse than stumbling upon something and wishing you had your camera with you to capture the moment. Even if nothing is done with my images and I don't publish or print them, I just want to capture more of life, so starting from today I will take more pictures. 

THINK MORE POSITIVELY. 

I think we're all a little bit guilty of this one. It's so easy to get caught up in the trivialities of life and to just become a little bit self-absorbed in our day-to-day lives. That 13 minute train delay en route to work and that out of service escalator and broken ATM may seem like the end of the world at the time, but in actual fact, there's a hell of a lot worse things that could happen to you in a day. Every day we wake up happy and healthy is a blessing and one that we should never take for granted, especially considering the atrocities that are currently going on around the world.
I often find myself moaning. Moaning about how tired I am and how I detest my 6am alarm. Note to self: that 6am alarm actually makes me a lucky one, as it means I am lucky enough to have a job...something which a lot of people are currently struggling to get. And when that 'hideous' 6am alarm rips me out of my sleep. It rips me out of my sleep that I've had in my warm, comfortable bed, in my heated, lit and safe bedroom. That already makes me one of the lucky ones in the world. So many are homeless or living in unsafe, unclean, inhumane conditions and I need to remind myself of this.

My life is not bad. My life is a privileged, healthy and happy one and I need to learn to be more positive about it. So what if the train's delayed and so what if the ATM is out of service. As my Mum has always told me, "every problem has a solution" and that is something that has always stuck with me. Rather than complaining and thinking the worst of every situation, I need to remember that every problem does in fact have a solution and that it really is not the end of the world.
So in 2017, I really am going to make a conscious effort to try and think more positively and to stop complaining about minor issues. 


STOP WORRYING & WEAR THE OUTFIT.  

All my life I have worried about what people think of me. Despite always feeling really passionately about fashion and personal style, I struggle with a lack of confidence and even just as little as 9 months ago, I would put together an amazing outfit, try it on and then take it straight off again to put it back in the wardrobe and opt for a basic 'blend-in' jeans and t shirt combo instead, as I just didn't have the confidence to leave the house wearing it. I was obsessed with what people thought of me and was convinced that if I wore the outfit, I'd get stares and comments. On numerous occasions when I have been purchasing quite out-there items (I'm talking fluffy bags and silver shoes), I have gone all the way to the check-out stage, only to chicken out as I'm too worried about what people will think of me when I'm wearing it. To have a love for fashion and personal style, but for that love to be accompanied by a contradicting lack of confidence and fear of judgement from others prevents me from enjoying fashion to it's fullest potential. After all, fashion is meant to be all about having fun and feeling confident in what you're wearing. And don't get me wrong, I almost always wear whatever I want, regardless of whether it's out-there or not and regardless of whether I know I'm gonna get looks from colleagues or people on the crowded tube and compared to what I used to be like a few years ago, my confidence has grown massively, but I'm still not quite there yet compared to where I'd like to be confidence-wise. 

I am confident in my personal style. I know what I like and I know what I don't like. I don't like blend-in clothes. I have no desire to wear blend-in clothes. I like chunky shoes, faux fur, a lotta black, platforms and striped culottes. So, for me, one of my most important New Year's Resolutions, is to wear whatever the hell I want and to not give a shit about what other people think of my outfit. If Sheila on the bus doesn't think much to my striped trousers, or if Dave the builder takes the piss out of my faux fur clutch and calls it a pet, then screw them both. They don't have to wear it. If I could wake up every day in 2017 and put on whatever outfit I want to wear and leave the house without hesitating to worry if people will stare, then I will be be one happy lady.  

STOP MAKING EXCUSES & WRITE.

I first started this blog about a year ago. I wanted a platform to share my love for both fashion and photography and a space where I could clear my head and write about whatever topics were on my mind. I spent the first 9 months of it feeling a little lost and overwhelmed with it all to be totally honest. I struggled with google analytics and the techy side of things, I felt disheartened by little page views and readings and felt like I was wasting my time, spending hours and hours writing posts and editing images from my trips to share with an audience I wasn't even sure I had. It felt like every other writer/blogger out there had followers and readers who would interact with and react to their posts and I just didn't know how the hell to get anyone to read my blog. Part of the reason why I felt so disheartened before was out of frustration. I was comparing myself and my blog to full-time bloggers who have both an extremely well-established blog and brand and every time I wrote a post, I was so close to binning it before publishing. I told myself there was no point in continuing to write, as nobody was interested. Nobody knew my blog nor me and I felt I was wasting what little spare time I had. I made excuse after excuse as to why I hadn't posted for weeks and now I know that the only thing stopping me was me. Granted, I work a long working day. I leave my house at 7am and don't return home until 7pm and that's if I don't go to the gym. By the time I've cooked, washed up, showered, washed hair etc. it is basically 10pm, leaving me very little time to write.

However, success doesn't come without sacrifice, so I have pulled myself together, have stopped making excuses and am determined to keep this blog up in 2017. Although I am still yet to fully grasp all aspects of running a blog, my viewings on my posts have shot up, I am receiving really good feedback from friends and colleagues who read my blog and I finally feel like I am finding my feet on this platform. Before, I would struggle to come up with post ideas, whereas now my brain is constantly on overdrive producing idea after idea for potential blog posts. So my aim in 2017 is to post twice a week and most importantly...to believe in myself. 
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2016 Photo Diary: A Year Of Travels

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At the beginning of 2016 I set myself a little challenge...one that would benefit that ever-growing travel bucket list of mine, but my bank balance...hmm not so much. I told myself I wanted to spend one weekend of each month in a different city. Whether that be within England or somewhere in Europe. It sounded bloody ambitious at the beginning and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to manage it financially (or persuade friends to tag along with me), but it soon all came into play and I stuck to my word and spent one weekend of every month in a different city. Granted I didn't travel far and although sadly no exotic or long-haul trips were included, I ticked off some cities and countries I had been itching to tick off my bucket list for absolutely ages, so I was keen to do a little round-up of the foreign cities I had visited to see my year in travel in pictures.
So without further a do, here is my 2016 travel diary...

MADRID 

DUBLIN


BERLIN 

IBIZA

RHODES


VALENCIA

ROME

And there we have it!

European Cities/Countries Visited:
Madrid, Berlin, Dublin, Ibiza, Rhodes, Valencia, Rome.

Cities/Towns in England Visited:
Bath, Manchester, Nottingham, Glastonbury, Winchester, Cambridge.

Despite 2016 being an amazing year for me travel wise, I faced a lot of judgement from friends and family members for the amount of trips I went on last year and it became a running joke that I was never in the county for longer than a few weeks at a time and to be quite frank with you, it pissed me off a little. I don't drink a lot, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs, I am not wasteful with my money and I save bloody hard. I love to travel and yes I may have been scraping the pennies together towards at the end of every month, but then that's my prerogative. I paid for every single trip myself out of my wages and didn't get myself into any debt whatsoever (not that that's anyone's business to be honest if I did). How others choose to spend their money is no business of mine, just as how often I choose to travel is nobody else's business but my own. I have no mortgage to pay for and no children to provide for, so I will continue to spend my wages on visiting different cities, exploring new cultures, tasting new cuisines and making new friends across Europe for as long as I possibly can. 

So here's to 2017 and for another year of exciting travels. This year I am planning on doing a few bigger trips, rather than European city breaks, so keep your eyes peeled on this blog for news of that...hint, hint: the country begins with C and ends with an A. 

And you can read all about my time in Rome, Berlin, Ibiza, Rhodes & Valencia by following the links below...
Rome: here 
Berlin: here, here, here & here
Ibiza: here
Rhodes: here 
Valencia: here
xoxo
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