The sun has set beautifully on 2015

So I’ve been AWOL for quite some time. 

Basically 2015 was a whirlwind, amazing year. Well a few initial hiccups then amazing for the majority before turning a bit shitty in December but I’ll get to that. 

First I want to tell you why I’ve been quiet for so long. I’ve covered off the first half of the year during previous posts on my #100daysofhappiness so I’ll just give a whistle stop tour of the second half. 

In June, myself and 4 of the best ones completed our new year challenge. We ran a half marathon. When I say ran, I actually ran. The entire way. I never ever thought I would be able to do it and with actual blood, sweat and tears through training we managed to achieve it, together. The dream team! 

To reward ourselves, we headed off to Ibiza shortly after. God I love that island. The weekend was full of laughs and memories that will last a lifetime. I want to share the places we visited but I’ll save that for another post! Sunning myself with my best girls, partying to Kisstory at Ocean Beach and experiencing how the other half live at Blue Marlin were definitely highlights for me! 

  

In August my parents celebrated 40 years of marriage. What an achievement! They are a shining example of true love, married at 18 and still having fun together 40 years later. My aim is to share the same kind of true love with someone myself one day. If I can have even 10 years experiencing the same depth of love they have for each other then I’ll be happy. I don’t want to settle for anything less. 

A reoccurring event in my annual calendar is V Festival. Those who have read my blog know about my love of music and I am so lucky to welcome some of the worlds best bands and artists to a festival on my doorstep every August. 

The following week I headed off to one of the most anticipated events of the year… My friend’s wedding in Rome. There were many things going through my mind prior to the trip as it was my first time in Italy, I’d never experienced a wedding abroad before and the thing that was making me most apprehensive was that these friends (and all the other people going) were people I had met through Mr Long Term, so he himself was going to be there too. I was nervous but I needn’t have been.  

Rome turned out to be everything I wanted and more. The city and food were amazing, the wedding itself was INCREDIBLE and I laughed until my face hurt every moment of every day there. Most coined phrase ‘when in Rome’ made almost any behaviour acceptable. I also met someone, who I’ve named Mr Nice Guy, you’ll hear more later. I’m so honoured to have been given the opportunity to celebrate with the happy couple and experience the love surrounding them, something that I will never forget. 

  

After four days at home, I jetted off to my happy place in Majorca where I spent two blissful weeks with my family. Sunbathing, eating, drinking, repeating. 
  

On my return to the UK I wasn’t met with the usual horrendous blues I have when I leave there. Many reasons for this included dates with Mr Nice Guy, one of my girls getting engaged, another two giving birth to their beautiful babies and one of my closest friends asking me to be her Maid of Honour next year. 

The final few months of the year sped by with lots of nights out, weekends with Mr Nice Guy and work being so busy heading into the festive season. 

So, Mr Nice Guy. Who is he? He is exactly that. He’s fun, good-looking, so kind, adores his family and is loyal beyond words. I made some great memories with him which made it all the more difficult when things didn’t work out for us just a few days before my birthday and Christmas. It was a bit of a shock as things seemed to be great during my visit to see him the weekend before.

I’m not really sure what happened. I questioned myself (and still do occasionally) wondering if it was something I did wrong. Did I say or do something wrong? What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t he want it to work? Why is this happening to me again? Feeling so sad at a time when you are meant to be full of Christmas spirit is really hard. So I got drunk a lot with my friends. 

But now, I’ve focused on the fact that everyone crosses your path for a reason. His reason? To show me the sort of person I’d like to be with and that there are actually some decent single guys left out there. I’m really happy we met and that I had the opportunity to get to know him. 

What now for 2016? 

Well even though we are only 10 days in, it’s shaping up to be quite some year already. 5 weddings plus 3 hen weekends, a new baby in the summer (not mine, obvs), 2 wedding cakes to make and 10 days in Majorca in the Autumn. But I have also felt the need to make some big changes to my own life so have been focusing on self development. 

I’m going back to uni to complete my marketing diploma, I’ve never been more focused on saving money to achieve my goal of buying my own home, I’m going to learn Spanish and I am determined to shift the last 10lbs that has been lingering during 2015. Basically, I’ve chosen some things to achieve that I am solely responsible for so basically my happiness has no reliance on other people. If I don’t achieve these things, I can only blame myself. On the flip side, when I do achieve them, I’ll be able to feel immensely proud. 

I hope 2016 is the happiest yet for you all and that your hopes and dreams come true x

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Happiness is…. Part 1

If you’ve been reading my blog, I think it’s pretty clear what brings me happiness! I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts around a few of those things and I am starting with one of my favourite things to do…. Going out!

I am blessed to have the fantastic city of London virtually on my doorstep and whilst my friends and I have our favourite places that we visit time and again, I’ve actually tried a few new places recently and now have a list as long as my arm of places that I NEED to try!! A few of my favourites haunts are:

Mabel’s – Covent Garden
Previously known as Jewel Bar, Mabel’s was recently the venue for a friend’s boyfriend’s 30th birthday. It was a Friday night so Maiden Lane itself was buzzing, the bouncer opened the door to let us in and we were greeted by people laughing and singing along with the band that were making their way round the tables singing modern classics like ‘Sex Is On Fire’ and ‘Mr Brightside’. I loved it immediately.

We made our way downstairs to the reserved area which was more of a club feel, with a dance floor, a bar, booth areas and later, a DJ. The staff were all fabulous and I was suitably impressed when after just a couple of orders, I went to get another and the barman remembered my order.

I recently suggested Mabel’s as the location for a little Thursday night soiree with one of my oldest friends. We popped along for a spot of food (which is DELICIOUS) and cocktails. It was a Thursday evening mid-month so slightly more chilled than my previous visit. We sat in leather armchairs and sipped our drinks, putting the world to rights. It was like sitting in someone’s lounge… just with a few more people!

I can highly recommend a visit to Mabel’s and my cocktail of choice was the ‘Ginchello’ – Gin, limoncello, homemade redcurrant syrup, lychee juice and prosecco. Divine!

Oyster Shed – City of London
I love a bar with a view, usually from a rooftop terrace, but there’s no need for a rooftop at The Oyster Shed as it overlooks the Thames with views of The Shard, Tower Bridge and some of the other fab buildings along the river. The Oyster Shed is a fave of mine and the girls during the summer months with long evenings spent there, soaking up the evening sun.

The Oyster Shed is a firm favourite of mine because it’s decked out (excuse the pun) in a beach theme, even the toilet cubicles downstairs are beach huts!! Combined with the fact it overlooks the water, I automatically feel as though I am on holiday without a care in the world, forgetting that I am in the City!!

The menu has a good selection of seafood, but if you are not a fan of seafood, there are plenty of other options so don’t let that put you off!

This is one of my favourite places to visit throughout the summer months when the sunshine is putting a smile on everyone’s face.

On the Roof – Selfridges
I love Selfridges, and I love rooftop bars. When I heard Selfridges had a rooftop bar, well that was it, I HAD to visit. I first visited for lunch last summer when the rooftop was branded as ‘On the Roof with Q’, a grill restaurant that had recently opened in Camden. I have to say that I was slightly disappointed with the view as mostly you just see rooftops, however, it doesn’t take away from the experience at all. The astroturf and cute furniture made me feel as though I was at a BBQ in someone’s garden which I liked a lot.

I visited again just before Christmas. I was worn out and chilled to the bone from a day of Christmas Shopping and a visit to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park so decided to rest my feet . To my delight, On The Roof had been re-themed to ‘Le Chalet’ with patio heaters, warming cocktails and wool blankets on each chair. I’ve never been skiing as I love the beach but Le Chalet was exactly how I imagine après ski to be!

I can’t wait to see what the theming will be this year, it’s somewhere I would definitely add to a list of date nights, particularly in the winter months.

21 – Covent Garden
On to my favourite bar. The bar overlooks the piazza in Covent Garden, and when most people head to the Punch and Judy for an al fresco drink with a view, I will head to 21, where I can sit on their balcony and watch all of those people crammed in to Punch and Judy.

I don’t know if I can put my finger on why 21 is my favourite. It’s quite small but it’s also unpretentious, laid back and relaxed (so maybe because I feel it matches my personality)? I took one of best friends there last week and she also loved it. She said it reminded her of being on holiday and I wondered if that might be another reason why I like it so much.

I went again last week with some other friends and for the first time I sat downstairs in the restaurant area which was just as fab. It’s Italian, reasonably priced and it also had happy hour on cocktails, always a winner. I had the Alla Roma pizza and although I have not visited Italy, I can imagine that all the pizza’s taste that good!!!

I can’t wait to visit Rome in the summer, if the bars and restaurants are anything like 21 then I am not sure I’ll be on the flight home!!!

Adventure Bar – Covent Garden
Adventure Bar has a reputation of being my go to place now. When I turned up last week the bouncer said ‘You again?!’…. think I maybe need to find a new place to go! In truth, I have only been 5 times over the last year, I am clearly just very memorable!!!

It’s a party bar with an extensive cocktail list, random flavoured shots and probably the best catalogue of music available. The staff are all really fun, clearly enjoying their jobs and their happiness is infectious. They also serve the drinks REALLY fast which is a bonus.

I can recommend booking an area if you are planning a visit as it can get really busy and then if your names not down, you’re not coming in.

The Alchemist – Bevis Marks
I first visited The Alchemist at Trinity Leeds shopping centre whilst on a work trip and once I’d been, I was desperate for them to open one at the shopping centre I work at, or if not, then at least in London. Then, 2 years later, they finally opened one in the heart of the city. YES! I’ve not visited properly yet. I did go for one quick double vodka and DC en route to Liverpool Street late last week but I was quite well-oiled. I remember loving the high ceilings at the fairy lights but that’s about it.

I can’t wait to go and sample the cocktails with the girls. I’m not sure whether to try the French Martini, White Chocolate Raspberry Martini or the White Cosmo first!!!

Let me know if you’ve visited any of my favourites or whether you have any recommendations for me to try. As much as I love the classics, I like to try somewhere new once in a while.

Hugs, Katie xx

 

The Effect Of #100HappyDays

The final stint #100happydays has been and gone….

Day 94 – Picked up the parents from the airport and although running in the terrible wind made me feel I was standing still at times, I managed my fastest 5km.

Day 95 – Purchased a new dress for Ibiza AND Chase and Status announced and Ibiza residency!!

Day 96 – Got a lovely new pair of suede boots in the River Island sale for £20!  Bargain!  Oh and Camilla made my day by sending me a link to the best mugs ever!!

Day 97 – Fab away day with work today, brushing upon Harrods history!  #Geek

Day 98 – 4 day weekend started with drinks in Adventure Bar….Fave!!

Day 99 – Nice evening seeing the best one and her little monkeys!

Day 100 – Well it’s been emotional, but here we are again!  Today’s happiness is bought to you by some random at Westfield telling me I was beautiful.  Always nice to hear!  Thanks everyone for putting up with my 100 days, good luck to those I’ve inspired and sorry to those I’ve annoyed along the way!!  Thanks for your support.  Love you all long time xxx

So we all know why I began this blog and embarked on my second round of #100happydays and it appears that I am not alone.  I thought I was a *little* crazy, the only one that thought doing this would make a difference but it appears I’m not the only one…I’ve been in touch with some other people who have also undertaken their own #100days and there are such similarities.  Knowing that everyone else has experienced the same feelings during and after completing their #100days is comforting – feel more normal now!

The situations that have bought on the need to seek some positivity in life have varied from depression and anxiety to splitting up with a husband, loss of a loved one and one the same as me… going from being a glass half full girl to feeling negative and unhappy.  Each person had been inspired to do #100days because they had seen a friend do it on social media and felt that it was worth a try.

It absolutely is worth a try. They have all. said how some days it can be a struggle to find a happy moment but as every day goes by it becomes easier…. perhaps because finding happiness each day actually starts to alter the way that you think eventually.  One person who was dealing with multiple heartbreaking and life changing situations said,  ‘I truly believe that life wasn’t getting better on its own, it just wasn’t seeming so bad anymore as I was having a shift in attitude.’  And I completely agree.

Everyone has challenges, problems and situations to deal with and whilst you may think that what’s happening to them is small, insignificant and unimportant it can be all-consuming and affect them in ways that they never felt possible.  It could also be one of many things that have happened to them – the final nail as it were – but talking to the other ladies that have undertaken this project has showed me that no matter what the challenge, happiness and positivity is always the answer AND you are not alone.

Coming soon – Marriage, What Happiness Is To Me and More Dating….

Love Katie xx

 

The home straight of happiness… 

I’ve not written about my #100daysofhappiness since Day 56.  I’m now on the home straight of the 100 days (today is day 94) so thought now would be a good time to break my silence on the happy days. 

Day 57 – special memories made tonight in Liverpool with one of my bestests xxx
Day 58 – walk on the beach, shop at Cheshire Oaks followed by curry and wine. Perfect!!
Day 59 – love doing something nice for something when it’s unexpected
Day 60 – After 20 years, I finally got the photo…
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Day 61 – afternoon tea booked with my bestest, can’t wait for next week now xx
Day 62 – excited as today felt like spring is on its way! Woo!
Day 63 – out of the blue phone call from a lovely friend made my day!
Day 64 – really fun work night out
Day 65 – surviving work with a rather bad hangover thanks to Pizza Hut Express and a Reese’s Krispy Kreme
Day 66 – a year ago today my life changed completely.  The last 12 months have been a roller coaster but have been incredible at times.  Happy today because of my wonderful family, friends and everything I’ve experienced since that day xxx
Day 67 – V line up announced.  Can. NOT. WAIT.
Day 68 – enjoyed a little bit of baking
Day 69 – had a fab ‘Christmas’ day out with the best one.  Afternoon tea, shoe purchasing and then a few drinks with a new friend! Great day! X
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Day 70 – so happy that I created a beaut cake for a friend! No pics yet until it’s been given to the recipient.
Day 71 – evening of bubbles and lols with some of the best ones.  And my shoes were christened!
Day 72 – so happy that my 100 days have inspired Jo to do the same.  There you go, you finally got your own day!!
Day 73 – did a decent 5km run in the sunshine.  Happy days!
Day 74 – Sam Smith and John Legend.  Just amazing.  If you haven’t heard their Comic Relief single then get it in your life!!
Day 75 – picked up my spring coat from the dry cleaners.  Winter coat will soon be banished!! And while looking for something else I found this pic of me and a special girl x
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Day 76 – so thankful to be in my bed with fresh sheets
Day 77 – so much love for my best one Flamingo Monroe for speaking up about thyroid issues.  What an inspiration.  Proud is not the word! Check it out www.flamingomonroe.com
Day 78 – amazing fashion shows at work always make me happy!!!
Day 79 – fab night at Mangetout, highly recommend!
Day 80 – don’t know how, but managed to avoid a hangover!
Day 81 – found a way to laugh off a very ‘cringe’ situation
Day 82 – another happy cake delivery today, my very first Tiffany box cake! Bad picture. And I FINALLY got my eyebrows done!
Day 83 – a tough one today.  5am start, not a very nice experience in a meeting, looked at Christmas grottos, train delayed on the way home AND got a parking ticket.  BUT still smiling thanks to my gals and Thai noodles with fishcake dinner!
Day 84 – lovely wagas with my amazing friend Camilla.
Day 85 – today was apparently #InternationalDayOfHappiness – I am not so sure.  All I can say is thank god for my amazing friends and the strength I have learned throughout my life.
Day 86 – yes, the day is not over yet, but there is only one thing to say today.  I am so thankful that in my life I’ve learned when it’s time to step up and do the right thing.  Honesty is always, always the best policy.
Day 87 – finally, Mr Grey was ready to see me tonight. He was worth the wait!
Day 88 – feeling motivated in all aspects of life today
Day 89 – only one more sleep until I get to see the incredible Sam Smith! Excited is not even the word.
Day 90 – Sam Smith took my breath away tonight.  Incredible talent, what a voice!
Day 91 – lovely catch up with Mrs Hills tonight!
Day 92 – had a visit from a couple of dear friends at work and a fab night out in Covent Garden.  I do love that place!
Day 93 – had a fabulous night with the girls last night (including FaceTime with Vic in HK) after having the most chilled out day!
Rewriting just these 36 days has made me realise how quickly life can change sometimes for the better and sometimes not.
1. I looked back at how much my life has changed in the 12 months since Mr Long Term and I parted company
2. Two of my closest friends have told me they are expecting babies later this year
3. Mr (not so) Perfect’s deceit and lies were uncovered and realised by his wife
4. I heard about a friend’s plans to travel the world next year
Life changing situations for all those involved.
All I want to say is that life is short, you don’t know when or how things will change but they inevitably will.  So live life to the full, chase after your wishes, hopes and dreams, be honest, be kind and above all do what makes you happy.
Katie xx

Strength…

There’s lots of happy days to update you on…Life has been pretty full on over the last month so I’ve not been blogging BUT today I come to you from a very happy place! Not literally, I’m in my kitchen… but just generally. First, an update on my happy days…..

Day 43 – Had a visit at work from a lovely friend

Day 44 – An evening of lols last night with my girls to celebrate Miss Laurian’s birthday

Day 45 – Little visit to see my faves today even if I wasn’t the usual fun Auntie Katie due to a LOT of booze last night

Day 46 – Went upside down with no hands at pole tonight! Whoop!

Day 47 – Lovely catch up with friends and their kiddies

Day 48 – Free Boost because my name came up in their social media campaign, lovely catch up with Trottski and came home to a really lovely card from my Auntie Susan

Day 49 – This time next week I’ll be packing my bags to head off to Liverpool! Excited!!

Day 50 – Worked with a lovely group of young girls today. Giving back to the local community makes you feel good!

Day 51 – felt good to get back out on an outdoor run

Day 52 – had a lovely evening with some lovely ladies

Day 53 – Just finished a pretty awesome cake and went upside down with no hands again tonight

Day 54 – PANCAKES

Day 55 – packed my case ready for my weekend in Liverpool!

Day 56 – Found this forgotten photo from Thailand

Thailand
This doesn’t take us to today (I am on Day 77) but I’ll post the rest of the days later.

Now, I want to say, I dread to think how I would have been feeling over these 77 days if I hadn’t embarked on #100daysofhappiness. It’s been tough but I’ve found that forcing myself to see the positives each day has really helped and I was beginning to feel loads better about life.

Then, out of the blue I got a text from Mr Not So Perfect to ask how I was. I had ALL the intentions of not replying but then 3 days later I got drunk. So at 4am, I stumbled through the front door and had the genius idea of responding. Good one Katie. It resulted in a bit of back and forth, no niceties from my side and obviously, the next day fear set in and I knew I had made a big mistake. When he then text again a few days later fishing for me to tell him I still cared for him, I told him to never contact me again and he agreed he wouldn’t. I was really proud of myself. But I regressed and suddenly went back to feeling the same way I did in the days after I found out the truth and it was really horrible.

BUT slowly over this last month I have been trying to put things into perspective. I’ve been through worse in life, I really have. It’s not something to talk about here but the love and strength my family and I had got us all here today so I thought, if I got through that, I can get through this. And it got me thinking, I have been devastated, sad and heartbroken over this numpty whilst other people in my life have been dealing with much bigger challenges, battles and heartbreak, suffering much more pain, worry and sadness than I have had to deal with in the last few months. I’ve just been too self-absorbed to think about it before.

Someone asked me this week if I’m happy being single and truthfully, I said I am. I am getting to know me and what I want in life. I love my life, I enjoy living it the way I do and it’s going to take someone special to become a part of it.

Something has worked though… Mr Not So Perfect stuck by his word for almost a month. Until earlier this week. He contacted me to again say he is sorry, he still thinks of me and that I will always be in his thoughts. I’ve not replied. I’ve actually found it laughable and it’s made me more determined than ever to keep smiling.

Lots of Love

Katie xx

A blessing or a lesson?

You often hear that the people who come into your life are either a blessing or a lesson.

A month or so ago, over a *few* bottles of prosecco with one of my best girls, we were chatting about life.  Since I found Mr (not so) Perfect, conversations about Mr Long Term dwindled but that evening there was a rare mention.  I think I’d said something about being with him so long was a mistake… I think (my memory is slightly cloudy due to the bubbles).  But then I corrected myself.

We had some great times together and made some very happy memories.  We were a good match and yes, it wasn’t meant to be but I can look back on the majority of my time with him and smile.  Yes we don’t love each other anymore but that really doesn’t make him a bad person and yes, he can be stupid a lot of the time but he has a kind heart.  He is/was most definitely a blessing.  Ms S told me how happy that made her and that one day she hoped I would be able to say the same thing about Mr (not so) Perfect.

I’m going to be honest (as always), I didn’t believe his story about his wife being pregnant.  I didn’t know what to believe.  But this week the wonderful world of Facebook confirmed that it was in fact the truth.  They will be adding to their family.  I’m not going to lie, it was like a punch to the stomach.  I thought it was another lie so that I wouldn’t spill the beans to her about his extra curricular activities.  It made me really sad for her, the poor girl thinks she has the perfect life, husband and family and all the time he has still been texting me wanting to see if I am ok.

What annoys me is that he gets to carry on his life as if nothing ever happened, he gets to go home to her, if he needs a cuddle, someone to talk to or to feel loved unconditionally, he has that.  I have to deal with what he’s done and live with a disgusting secret.  I have to pick up the pieces on my own, questioning why he did this and why to me?  What annoys me the most though is that I can’t understand how it’s possible to miss somebody so much when they are quite clearly one of the worst human beings on the planet.  Why is it not just possible for your mind to go ‘He’s a dickhead, you are not permitted to think about him anymore.’

I’m not sure yet whether Mr (not so) Perfect was a blessing or a lesson.

A blessing maybe because aside from being a massive liar and a cheat, to me he was perfect.  He did know how to romance a girl and make her feel special.  He did take me to some great places, give me the ability to feel something I never thought possible and we did make some amazing memories.  He became one of the most special people in my entire life.

A lesson maybe too though.  A lesson in trust, faithfulness?  A lesson to not be a free with my heart?  A lesson in what’s acceptable and what is not?  A lesson to always hold back 5% for you?  A lesson in how to be strong?

Or maybe it’s possible that he was both?

I don’t know, I am not there yet.  But maybe one day Ms S (and all my other readers) I will look back and be able to smile on this situation too.  Until that point though I will continue to put a smile on my face, embrace life and take each day at a time.  Nothing lasts forever, not even your problems.

Love Katie xx

PS – I had a message of concern from someone very special after she read this post. She said ‘your blog’s supposed to be about happiness and this made me sad’. This is NOT meant to be a sad post people. The moral of the story is that when Mr Long Term and I split up, I was so sad. Then some months down the line I was able to look back and smile. That’s my aim about Mr Perfect too, I’m just not quite there yet! I am ok though. Life is good xxx