Another year older, another year wiser? It’s one of those obvious cliches that rings truer each and every year people wish me a Happy Birthday.

Hello 31, you came round sooner than I realised you would but I’m happy you’re here. After last year’s epic trip to The Serengeti and Zanzibar Mr C set the bar pretty high for birthday presents but Mems only went and leaped over it backwards by taking me to one of the most beautiful places on earth for this year’s celebrations, Cappadocia in Turkey. It was an absolute dream trip and one that I know you are all really keen to hear more about but I first wanted to write a little birthday note. A little present ‘from me to me’ has been quite a common buy over the last few years but this year I decided to gift myself with some things that money really can’t buy.

It’s not easy for me to set aside real quality time for myself, contrary to popular belief, I have very little of it in the line of work that I do but writing this post right now with my adorable pup snuggled up on her favourite dolphin teddy by the window seal and the smell of next door’s barbecue lingering through my patio doors I have the time to and mimd set to write down the six things that I have or would like to make a conscious effort to gift myself this birthday.

1.Time

The classic and most precious gift of time is my first present, not the common wish of more of it but the gift of making the best use of mine. Managing my own time effectively is my number one priority this year. It’s so easy to look back on years or months or even the past day and think ‘where did the time go?’ but I need to start owning every minute of my day. I’ve become a little bit scrambled at home and procrastinating has been put on a pedestal of it’s very own so making sure to own my time and plan accordingly is something I am really craving and hoping to do better at. Time zone hopping inevitably has an effect on my routine but I can no longer use this as an excuse not to give everyday my all. How is it that the days I spend at the computer aimlessly scrolling or intermittently typing, the sun sets without me achieving one single thing and the following morning I’m able to have hit the gym, written a 1000 word article, done the weekly food shop, put on three washes and painted the garden furniture all by lunch time?

On the same note with time, I need to have more compassion that things take……time. I’m the first person to admit that I want everything tomorrow and working towards a goal steadily with the finish line in sight is far more beneficial than demanding a result the moment I’ve dreamt up the idea!

2.Forgiveness

Asking for forgiveness from other people has always been a straight forward task for me, I’ve always been really comfortable with admitting when I’m wrong, apologising when I’ve f**ked up and asking for forgiveness from people when i do but when it comes to letting myself ‘off the hook’ it’s a whole other story. I make mistakes, I say the wrong thing (often) and I’m never afraid to voice my opinion to the people I love but if I get into an argument or unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings, no matter how quickly they may forgive me, it’ll stay on my mind for weeks, even months. I need to learn that we all make mistakes, we all say the wrong things every now and again but that’s what makes us human. If my friends and family can forgive me then why can’t I forgive myself? Beating myself up over things that had little to no affect on someone else needs to stop, I need to erase the ‘replay’ button from my brain and live more in the ‘play’ mode. This is going to be the hardest gift to receive but hopefully one day I’ll fully accept it.

3.Pride

Something that’s rare for us girls to do nowadays is give ourselves a pat on the back when we do well but here goes; In my opinion, when it came to personal goals and ‘living my best life’ I absolutely smashed being 30!

I travelled to 20 countries and 80% of my adventures were collaborative trips with tourism boards or brands that through my online platforms chose to work with me on campaigns and promotions. It’s a hard slog starting and maintaining a blog and whilst I’m still yet to pay my way solely through this site, being able to travel the world off the back of it is pretty darn amazing!

I landed my dream job as a Travel TV Host! Since choosing a career path when starting university, my dream was always to present for E! and after being the Official Host the UK & Ireland channel for two years my travels steered me away from the role allowing me to dream up a whole new dream, to anchor a travel TV series. In a very quick turn of events that good karma definitely lent a helping hand to, I am now a official anchor for Travel XP.  The channel is one of the biggest TV Travel destinations and airs worldwide, I’m so over the moon to be a part of the team and I’m loving every minute of filming and being back in front of my original camera format of having a producer and director calling the shots. My shows haven’t aired yet but I’ll fill you in as and when my programs are out 🙂

I started a youtube channel which may not have a large following but it’s given me another string to my bow and it’s given me a new hobby of creating beautiful videos of my travels and playing around with creative and fun edits. Though I have no intention of ever doing more than I already am when it comes to youtube it’s been great for me to share my adventures in a more personal way and as an added bonus my trip to The Serengeti was picked up by Unilad and ended up going viral with over 27,000,000 views on facebook!

I have a travel column with Female First , I love writing for magazines and online publications but a goal I set for myself last year was to have my own column and I secured one with Female First which I’m really proud of. It may only be a cheeky 500 words about my latest adventure but it’s mine and I’m super chuffed to have another outlet to showcase my travels.

4. Love

This one is easier said than done for me, I can give the best advice to my friends about their insecurities, worries and upsets but when it comes to loving and caring for myself I’ve always struggled. I will praise my work, be actively proud of my achievements and acknowledge if I’m looking particularly nice on a certain day but truly loving myself? I have some ways to go! They say it’s impossible to love anyone else if you don’t love yourself but that has always been a saying I’ve never really been sold on. I truly believe that you need to know your worth and I have always known my own when it comes to romantic relationships but fully loving yourself, does that ever really happen? I’ve gifted myself some love for my birthday so I will let you know how I get on 😉

5. Drive

Something that I never thought I would need an extra sprinkling of is drive, the older I have become the more comfortable I am with not jam packing my days with activities and tasks. I used to be a list writing, planning ninja and now it can get to midday and I haven’t even brushed my hair! Whilst I am more compassionate that every day doesn’t need to involve me conquering the world I do need to gift myself a little more drive to go out and get the things that I sit day-dreaming about. This is probably the easiest gift to utilise in day to day life as it’s something I can take control of. I’m back to using a focused day planner and trying my best to make the most of every day (without going down the ‘you should have done better today’ route!). I’m also setting smaller, more realistic goals to sit side by side with the more ambitious and out of reach ones. In short, I need to focus my energy back to the same level it was pre-netflix!

6. Confidence

So this one sounds silly coming from someone who posts pictures and videos of herself online, I hear that, however where I have lacked in confidence lately is in my work life. I spent so much time last year doubting myself, my blog and my presenting ability (which I touched on in this blogpost here), telling myself things like ‘I’m not famous enough to audition for that role’ or ‘I don’t have a high enough following for approach that brand about working with them’ or ‘I can’t possibly charge a fee for this all expenses paid trip as my site isn’t big enough’ when actually, in the industry I’m in, companies and people with far less sell themselves as far more.

I have for the first time started reaching out to a few brands that I think I could partner well with and I’ve turned down a number of unpaid travel opportunities because I know the deliverables are worth charging for and it’s been a really eye-opening and gratifying experience. With just a sprinkle of belief in myself I am already working towards to amazing projects, it just shows what it can do, watch this space 😉

So that’s me, those are my selfishly unselfish presents, wish me luck with using them! Thanks for all your lovely birthday messages on the gram by the way, they really did mean the world to me xxx

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