Category Archives: Life Lessons

11 Things I Learnt This Year

Ahh 2017. The year that felt like a decade.

2017. The year political culture, what felt like constant terrorist attacks, and the Weinstein scandal made it feel like the world was ending.

On the other hand, it was also the year I became Mrs Copley, backpacked around Europe and the year two of my best friends brought their first little ones into the world. Hello Luca and Polly!

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So, without further ado, I thought I’d finish the year with a list of things that I’ve learnt this year:

  1. Spin classes are a torture that no human should have to endure

Before the wedding, I was trying to lose a bit of back fat to fit into my frock. I joined the gym. I spent hours in the gym, going to the gym, showering after the gym, returning from the gym, and thinking about the gym. I even went to a spin class several times which meant I had to walk up the stairs to the changing room backwards, like someone who had just completed the New York marathon.

And guess what? SO BORING!!!!! OH MY GOD!!!! When the wedding finally rolled around, I told the woman on reception that I would be cancelling my membership. She asked “why?” To which I responded “I’m about to get married, and then I plan to get very fat.” I will summarise with a photo of Olive, from the immortal film: “Little Miss Sunshine.”

2. Plants are harder to keep alive than cats

This is a fairly self-explanatory point. What is it with plants at the moment? They’re very in, and I was eager to jump on the Jungalow bandwagon in turning the whole house green, which just resulted in a lot of death and destruction, and wasted money.

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3. Once you hit 27, hangovers now last two days

WHAT IS THIS BLACK MAGIC. I used to spring back, and be in a lecture at 9am after getting in at 4am. Now I am bed ridden for a day and a muggy head with terrible reaction times the day after that… It’s all downhill from here. Still no stopping me though. 🙂

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4. Sometimes it’s okay to not read the news

I don’t know why it took me a while to figure this out. I’ve always felt it’s my duty as a literate citizen of the planet to be up to date with what’s going on in the world. But then I hit a point of earlier mentioned despair.. this sounds like an exaggeration, but I started to feel very anxious, not good in crowded spaces, etc. So I’ve decided to give myself permission to avoid the news when I feel like I need to.

 

5. It’s possible to gain a stone in three weeks

Ha. I’m actually quite impressed with this one. Over the course of our honeymoon, Mr Copley and I both put on a stone! HAAA! All the aperol spritz and deep-fried cheese of Europe took it’s toll in the end. Worth it.

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6. Eyeshadow primer is liquid gold

A slightly boring one, but wow! That Urban Decay stuff is really bloody good!

 

7. If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it

This sounds obvious, but it’s taken me until the age of 27 to stop agreeing to everything and just do the things I want to do. Time is precious.

 

8. I will never be a professional wedding planner

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(The above photo of Parker is an accurate representation of what wedding planning did to my brain.)

When planning a wedding, I was like “yeah nine months is ages, and it’s just a big party, what’s the big deal?!” Well… it turns out that having a wedding reception somewhere that rarely holds events is quite difficult, and you shouldn’t try to plan your own hen do on top of that. (bridesmaids to the rescue!) Anyway. I didn’t quite go full bridezilla, but as someone who is outwardly quite chilled, finding myself wailing “How on earth could all this hassle be possibly worth it?” a few days before my wedding came as a bit of surprise. I will never ever get married again. 🙂

9. Social media is destructive to mental health

In October, I found myself fairly addicted to social media. I was completely hooked on Facebook and Instagram, wasting precious time trying to prove something that no one cares about.

I’m my own boss and I work weird hours, and I would often just fall down the rabbit hole and spend hours online. Not only is this a massive waste of time, but it was also making me feel shit. No, I’m not interested in your before/after weight loss photo. You look great either way, and as Ruth so wisely says: “you are not allowed to be on a diet unless you have diabetes.” This whole wellness bullshit just makes everyone else feel inadequate and terrible for having a snickers for breakfast.

The news on Facebook is unreliable and untrustworthy. I’ve also found myself spending more time speaking to my friends and spending time with them in real life now I’ve taken a step away. I still pop online once a week or so, but I’m no longer hooked on the dopamine highs of getting a “like” and god, I feel so much better for it!

10. If you wear a really long wedding dress, you will spend your entire walk down the aisle trying not to faceplant

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One last wedding-related one. Nobody tells you that when you walk down the aisle, you’ll have one hand holding flowers and the other clutching onto who is giving you away (thanks Daddy) for dear life. This means that your little toes are going step step step step on your wedding dress and you spend the entire thing going “oh my god oh my god I’m gonna fall, DAD! I think I’m about to fall over. Don’t let me fall over in front of all these people! If I fall, will you catch me?! Oh my god OH MY GOD.”

I didn’t even SEE Tom until I got to the end of the aisle. I could have been about to marry the wrong person for all I knew! Anyway. Advice to the future bride who may be reading (hey Leanne 😉 ) SORT OUT HOW TO WALK BEFORE YOU GO DOWN THE AISLE

 

11. My backpack is forever my happy place

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Waking up and taking a few seconds to remember where you are. Having nothing to do in the day but explore and eat. Saving every penny I earn to explore.

Bring on 2018, and INDIA

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May what you touch be touched

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You don’t have to eat tofu.

You don’t have to read the books that people say you should read, or watch the TV shows people think you should be watching.

You don’t have to spend an hour scrolling through someone that you went to school with ten years ago’s holiday photos.

You don’t have to go to a spin class.

You don’t have to explain yourself to anybody.

You don’t have to feel your heart rate rise when you read articles about the tango-haired sex pest who resides in the White House.

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You do have to do your tax return.

You do have to be passionate.

You do have to make something, even if it’s just a big mess or a horrible noise.

You do have to clean the bathroom.

You do have to show up to work on time when you’d rather spend the day watching Netflix and drinking tea.

You do have to get your face in the sun when you’re feeling sad.

You do have to water the plants.

You do have to spend the day doing the things you’d be happy to die doing.

You do have to take in life’s wonders.

You do have to be kind.

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May what you touch be touched.

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11 lessons I’ve learnt whilst travelling

We’re coming towards the end of our trip (NOOOOOO) with only seven weeks left until we fly from Bangkok to Gatwick. I’ve recently become reflective and I was thinking about the things I’ve learnt and decided to write a post about it before I’m sat at home on the sofa and I’ve forgotten everything. So here it is… Eleven lessons I’ve learnt whilst travelling.

1) Trust people

99% of people are kind and helpful. As I’m writing this, nothing bad has happened to us, so TOUCH WOOD… But we’ve had so many situations where people have been like “You’re going to Hiroshima? You’re on the wrong train! Get off quick!”
There was that time where we hitch-hiked in New Zealand and we’ve stayed in people’s houses we’ve never met before. When somebody says “I need to take your passport down to road to get your boat ticket,” just give them the passport!

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2) At the same time, be sensible and look after yourself

It’s important to look after your valuables, keep your wits about you and if you end up wandering around somewhere dodgy-looking at 3am, just get a taxi!

3) If someone invites you to do something, say yes

When someone I’ve just met asks me “do you want to play a drinking game?” Or “would you like to have dinner with me and my family?” My inner introvert panics at the thought of an impeding awkward situation and my instinct is always to make some kind of excuse. But I’ve learnt that you should always say yes, and good experiences always come out of it.

You’ll meet some amazing people who are equally as poor as you, and you’ll end up having a Box/chicken party It’s cheap!

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4) You’ll have crazy highs and a couple of crazy lows
Sometimes travelling feels like you’re in a happy musical. (No really, I literally twirled around and cried with happiness in New York and screamed when we saw the Hollywood sign.) And to balance life out, you’ll spend a few hours crying on the toilet because you’re so ill, and you’ll scream “what am I doing with my life??!!” in torrential downpour wondering why you’ve found yourself at the top of a slippy ladder in a pear tree.

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5) A smile goes a long way
There are places in the world where you’ll get hassled a lot. When it’s hot and you’ve got your backpack on it’s easy to get your feathers ruffled and want to yell “bugger off, I’ve been walking for half an hour and I can’t find my hostel!!!!!!” But I’ve learnt that to smile and say “no thank you” is the best way around it, and you won’t feel as stressed.

5) Living out of a bag gives you perspective about things
I’ve never been particularly materialistic and I’ve always preferred a good book over shoes, but living out of a 65litre rucksack for ten months gives you a good perspective on the stuff you don’t need. It took me a month or so to relearn what my face looks like without make up, but think I’m actually happier with less stuff. I feel calmer and less cluttered. Okay, so I totally didn’t have a meltdown when my favourite dress got a stain on it…. But yeah. Less is more when it comes to backpacking. Oh, and Kindles are one of the BEST things in the entire world. (That’s a sentence I never thought I’d say)

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6) You’ll also get perspective on stress an it’s effect on the body
Of all the places I’ve been, the ones with the fastest pace of life and visibly stressed people are America, Japan, and the good old United Kingdom. I honestly think we all work far too hard to save money for holidays and stuff we don’t need so we can forget about the rubbish climate. (Massive generalisation…I know. Maybe I’m just a summer person.)
When we’d been travelling for around a month, I felt the muscles in my jaw loosening. My eczema that I’ve had nearly all my life has completely disappeared and those paralysing migraines I get about once every six weeks? Well guess how many I’ve had in eight months?… One.
I’m not writing this to make anyone jealous, but as a reminder to my future self that stress is terrible for me, and I need to work on staying chilled. When I’ve figured out how to do that one I’ll let you know!

7) Travelling will change you in ways you don’t expect

Those of you who know me will know that I’m fairly easy-going but I am also a big worrier. I’m a little bit more relaxed now, mainly about travel situations. For example, I no longer check my passport a million times before boarding a plane. And if someone doesn’t give me my change straight away, I can just wait, knowing they’ll get it to me. I’m a more patient now, and less easily flustered.

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8) But mostly, you’ll stay the same.
I have chronic insomnia. I thought travelling would cure me, and dorm rooms would be a kind of therapy and I’d come home with the ability to sleep anywhere. Well, the truth is I still can’t sleep anywhere! I thoroughly believe there is a special place in hell reserved for people who snore and have sex in dorm rooms. Dorm rooms are my own kind of personal hell actually. One of the main things I miss about home is that I can get up and roam the house and play with my cats and make a cup of tea at anytime any hour of the night. Plus there’s always a comfy spot for me to go with my book. Whilst we’ve been away I’ve done a lot of reading on the toilet in the early hours so that I don’t wake Tom up!

9) Always go with your gut
If a person, or a situation gives you a bad feeling in your tummy, or if you find your trying to talk yourself into doing something… DON’T DO IT.

10) You will adapt to anything
When we arrived in Asia there weren’t any knives and forks. I’d used chopsticks before but found them fiddly and they made me eat incredibly slowly. Fast forward a week and I finished a plate of food and say “Oh! I didn’t even think about the chopsticks!” When we first went to Japan, the whole nude bathing thing terrified me. A week later I was strolling around naked happy as Larry.

11) push yourself, but also know your limits.
I can jump out of a plane at 15000ft

I can bungee jump off a bridge .
I will never drive a scooter/motorbike in Asia.
I will never go scuba diving.

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Never say never though. The scary things are the best challenges.

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25 things I know to be true

Well  hey there,

I turned 25 in September which is a bit weird. Weird because I’m officially “mid-twenties” which feels like I should be a more responsible adult than I am. I feel about six years old, not a quarter-century old! Half way to fifty. (I know it’s not old really)

Also, lots of travellers that I’ve met go “really?!” When I tell them how old I am. I’m hoping this is because most backpackers are younger, or that I look younger, but it’s the first time in my life that people have been surprised by how old I am.

Anyway, I thought I’d use the opportunity to compile a list of 25 things that I’ve learnt so far in my 25 years. Here goes!

 

1) No one really has a clue what they’re doing. Everyone is just pretending that they do and acting confidently. Join them, it’s hilarious.
2) Never trust someone who hasn’t brought a book with them. (Thanks Lemony Snicket)
3) If you’re tall you can tell people what to do and pretend to be authoritative and it (usually) works.
4) Every day is better if you wake up and decide you’re in a good mood.
5) Exercise is essential for keeping your body healthy, but more importantly, it keeps your mind healthy too.
6) If you want to wear something outrageous, you must do so with conviction and you’ll get away with it.
7) You are insanely lucky to have spare change, a roof over your head and access to food and water. Never take it for granted.
8) If everything is getting a bit much, take a step outside and look at the sky, contemplate the cosmos. Imagine being a spaceman looking at the planet. You are  so insignificant. Your life is one tiny blip on the timeline of the Earth. Chill the hell out. Also, if the thing you’re worried about wont matter in five years time then forget it!
9) The most important thing to be is kind. It doesn’t matter if you’re thick or you have a horrifically ridiculous laugh, just try really hard to be kind and compassionate.
10) Your gut instinct is about 99% right. If you don’t like somebody when you first meet them, or a place or situation gives you a sinking feeling in your tummy, trust it.
11) Laugh every day.
12) Listen to your body. If you feel shit every morning because you eat chocolate before bed, stop it. Don’t go drinking two nights in a row because you’ll get tonsillitis.
13) Understand that everybody has got their own problems and worries, and most of the time they aren’t thinking about you.
14) Make your passion your job and you’ll never dread going to work. You may feel differently about piano practice following hours of teaching piano however!
15) Ideas become things. Decide what you want and follow your dream. Only you can make it come true. Namaste!
16) If you’re having a migraine you should go to sleep. If you’re at work go to sleep in your car. Don’t try to woman up and power through because you will be sick everywhere.
17) There will be one day each month where you want to stab everyone you come in contact with and then will probably cry over a broken biscuit. It’s normal but you will only realise that in hindsight.
18) Smiling makes people warm to you but it also attracts the nutter on the bus, and makes everyone ask for directions.
19) Blusher has the magical power to make you look human on even the most shittest of mornings.
20) You can figure out which colours suit you by stopping wearing the ones that make people question if you’re ill.
21) The secret of life is chai tea. And good books.
22) Music is magic. Spend your life chasing it.
23) The way people act towards you is a reflection of them, not you. If someone is being an arsehole it’s because they’ve got something else going on that you can’t see. This is true for 99.9% of the population. The remaining 0.01% are psychopaths and should be avoided at all costs!
24) Spend money on experiences not things.
25) Surround yourself with the things that make you happy. 🙂

 

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