Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Confessions of a shopaholic (part 2)

- Read 'Confessions of a shopaholic (part 1)' here - 

Last Autumn I chopped up my credit cards and went cold turkey on shopping and spending of all kinds except for essentials like food, toiletries, rent and bills. It was extremely hard to lose this 'spare cash' which I depended on like a drug to perk me up, keep me entertained, and see me through to the end of each month after I inevitably burned through the salary payment I had received a few short weeks beforehand.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Confessions of a shopaholic (part 1)

'Tis the season to be jolly... and also to spend money like it's going out of fashion.

Crazy Christmas consumerism has been on my mind lately after seeing horrible video footage on the news of people stampeding into shops on 'Black Friday' and having actual physical fights with each other over television sets and laptops. People stomping on and crushing others in a desperate attempt to blag the best deal on crap they don't need and undoubtedly can't afford. 

Can anyone honestly take pleasure in watching their brand new telly knowing they punched someone in the face and acted in a completely unacceptable manner to secure it? It's disgusting behaviour! So much for goodwill to all men and loving thy neighbour etc... 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

We are family

All fifteen of my wonderful and totally awesome cousins!

"All of the people around us they say, can they be that close?
Just let me state for the record, we're giving love in a family dose."

Followers of my blog may or may not be aware that I'm half British and half American! I am very lucky to hold passports for both of these wonderful nations and I identify proudly with both cultures.

My mother is from Dayton which is a small, historic and beautiful city in Ohio. The state of Ohio is located in the confusingly named 'mid-west' part of the USA which is actually very close to the East Coast, nowhere near the wild West, so 'go figure' as they say in the US!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Escape the City: lessons learned (part 2)

I love this group photo taken on my last day at Esc

- To read 'Escape the City: lessons learned (part 1) click here -

So long, farewell...

This week I said goodbye to a wonderful group of people and closed the door on an experience that has been truly life changing for me. My internship at Escape the City is over. 

It's been an exhilarating, eye opening, challenging and fun few months. A true career adventure, and a much needed breath of fresh air in my life. 

My summer at Escape the City taught me lots of valuable things every day, and several big life lessons too. 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sunday inspiration

The English poet William Ernest Henley is a bit of a one hit wonder. His literary reputation rests almost entirely on the single, magnificent poem 'Invictus', written in 1875

I adore this beautiful piece of writing. The poem is so powerful, stirring, and hopeful. 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Sunday inspiration

Recently I watched a really interesting interview with one of my favourite actors, Morgan Freeman. 

He was being interviewed by the incredible Oprah Winfrey and told his fascinating life story, focusing mainly on his career and how he finally achieved success in the acting world aged 50. I think there is a lesson in there for all of us that it's never too late!

Anyway - at the end of the interview Morgan read out part of a poem that has inspired and guided him throughout his life. I was struck by the beauty of the words he spoke, especially in his lovely Southern accent. I think he could read the shipping news and I would be completely enchanted by every word!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Too good to be true

Today I went for a walk in the park near my home despite the fact that the sky was grey and it was threatening to rain. 

Usually this would not inspire me to want to leave the house, but today I really felt the need to get outside and just feel the cold and rain on my skin. It was late afternoon and I had been sat inside all day at my laptop, trying to figure out what on earth my next move will be after I leave Escape the City soon. This was making me feel a little crazy so I just grabbed my keys, put on my trainers, and dashed out the door to walk and clear my head.

While I was out wandering around the park, the weather suddenly turned. Huge gusts of wind started sweeping through the trees and it felt like a sign that the winds of change are about to blow through my life once again.

Friday, 10 October 2014

What should I do with my life?

Last week I was so happy to see this essay of mine published on The Escape School blog, and also sent out to 170,000 members of Escape the City community around the world. It's extremely rare that I feel pride in my work but on this occasion I really felt good about my accomplishment. I'm keen to share the essay on my blog for my own readers. It's much longer than my usual blog posts so well done if you make it to the end! 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Who am I?

Who am I?!

This is a bold and baffling question.  The kind of thing that keeps people lying awake at night staring at the ceiling wondering if they'll ever know the answer (well I hope so anyway, it had better not just be me!).  

It starts to creep up on us in childhood, although at that time we're barely conscious of it.  After the charming innocence of our early years and the blissful lack of self awareness of that time in our lives, we all start on the long journey of trying to find our place in the world.  Trying to figure out what makes us unique, special and interesting. 

Monday, 22 September 2014

Escape the City internship: lessons learned (part 1)

The Startup MBA course @ The Escape School (which also happens to be my workplace!)

"I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page 
and I could do anything I wanted." [Jack Kerouac]

I adore this beautiful quote from one of my favourite authors Jack Kerouac.  His awesome book On The Road was one of the first adventure stories I read as a teenager, around the same time my own passion for travel and adventure was ignited.  After spending the weekend on a fantastic intensive entrepreneurship course the quote perfectly expresses how I'm feeling; inspired and hopeful, and bursting with ideas and personal insights. 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

How it feels to marry your best friend

"I do!"

Exactly a year ago today, on Friday 13 September 2013 I married my best friend and love of my life, Christopher.

We met in our first year of university in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, way back in 2002 when we were just 18 and 19 years old.  Rory, a mutual friend of ours, introduced us on a night out at the student's union.  Our first meeting was fairly unremarkable; there are no tales to tell of our eyes meeting across a crowded dance floor or fireworks going off as we spoke our first words to each other.  Sorry to disappoint!

Friday, 22 August 2014

A new perspective on London and life

My favourite moment of the trip!  WOW!

This blog is all about living with a spirit of adventure and daring to try new things.  It's about finding ways to feel happier in day-to-day life and achieving my personal goals - one of which is to have more fun!  And so it was with this in mind that I recently tried two awesome new things. The first of these was going 'house hunting'.

Last weekend Chris and I spent hours and hours driving all around South East and South West London to get a feel for new areas of the city we aren’t familiar with.  Areas where we might, fingers-crossed, be able to afford to buy our first home together.  It was a completely eye opening experience.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Writers block

Recently I've been wrestling a bad case of writers block.  Or should I say bloggers block?? 

It's not that I haven't been inspired to write or that I'm struggling to think of ideas for posts - quite the opposite actually.  I've just been really lacking creative energy over the last couple of weeks and I'm desperately seeking some clear head space to allow me to write properly.

I'm just SO busy at the moment.  I can feel my mind jumping all over the place, with all my thoughts colliding so fast it makes my head spin.  I'm worried about all the usual things; money, work, the future, not achieving my goals....  Somehow I must find a way to quiet my mind, calm down and simply focus on one thing at a time. Because when worries are manically skipping around your head it's really hard to get anything at all done properly which ends up making you even more stressed out!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Everything is illuminated


I have just finished my first fortnight in my new job at Escape the City and I can't begin to express how amazing it is already.  I can literally FEEL myself changing inside.  It's so incredible how things can truly start to shift and transform when you set your mind to something and actually commit to taking real action towards achieving your dreams. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

"It's never too late to be what you might have been." [George Eliot]

I have some BIG news to share. Last night I received a phone call that could impact my future in a major way. I discovered I've been successful in my application to become the first ever intern at one of my 'hero' companies, Escape the City!! 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

First things first

Ever since leaving my job at the beginning of May my creative right brain has been firing on all cylinders.  It seems that with each passing week, the more distance I put between myself and corporate life, the more 'me' I feel. I'm happier, more inspired, increasingly energetic, and have a general feeling of joie de vivre!  

There are a million things I want to do right now; so many ideas floating around in my head for projects I want to start, new ways to earn money or things I want to do that will make me feel great!  The problem with this level of excitement for lots of different activities is that inevitably I don't quite know where to begin.  Should I focus on my career transformation? Or this blog?? Should I make more time for creative passions like cooking and photography??? The list of ideas is very long and it's got to the point where I'm a little overwhelmed by it all.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Food diary: Moroccan slow roasted shoulder of lamb with pomegranate dressing

Picture of the lamb taken by my sis seconds before we devoured it all! 

One of my passions in life is cooking (and of course eating!) delicious food. Soon after graduating from university I did a month-long cookery course at the wonderful Leith's School of Food and Wine in London. I couldn't cook very well before I started the course to say the least. At uni the first time I tried cooking for myself I baked the hell out of a chicken breast by leaving it in the oven for 45 mins, yuk! Some of my close uni friends took cookery courses in their gap years and had gone on to work as chalet cooks in the Alps whilst doing a ski season. They really enjoyed cooking and were pretty good at it and this inspired me to want to learn. 

Friday, 4 July 2014

One step closer to financial freedom

Once upon a time I thought nothing of having expensive hair cuts, buying designer make-up and luxury perfume, spending regularly in top-end high street shops (think Hobbs, L.K. Bennett, Reiss etc), and even putting entire holidays on my credit card. I managed to justify my spending as I was earning decent money in Financial Services and mistakenly thought it would be pretty easy to pay off my credit card when I was ready. But of course there never seemed like a good time to sacrifice my expensive monthly treats, or god forbid my much treasured holidays, and instead pay down some of my debt. Years rolled by and my debt simply grew. When I maxed out my credit card I just got another one. When that was maxed out I extended my overdraft etc etc... you get the idea!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Quitting the sweet poison

Enjoying a 'gelato' on honeymoon in Sicily (and finally breaking my wedding diet!), 2013

I am addicted to sugar. There I said it! I am totally, utterly, completely addicted to the "white death". 

Apparently sugar is more addictive than cocaine and even heroin! But unlike Class A drugs, it's cheap to buy, readily available in every corner shop and is 100% socially acceptable. So it's understandable that over the years I've developed a dependency on sugary treats. I rely on them to perk me up in the morning, energise me during the inevitable mid-afternoon slump, and comfort me when I'm feeling bored or if I'm having a rubbish day. Of course sweet treats also come out at times of celebration (see photo above!) like birthdays, Christmas etc. So there really isn't a time when I don't feel the urge to indulge my sweet tooth.

Friday, 27 June 2014

I did it!

On Tuesday night I posted a link to my blog on Facebook and have been so overwhelmed by the wonderful response I received. Lots of my lovely friends and family took time to leave encouraging comments or congratulate me which made me SO happy! Isn't it wonderful when you're reminded how lucky you are to have great people in your life?