New Year’s Resolutions & What I Want to Achieve in 2019 | #ThisGirlEats

Plenty of people hate this “New Year” stuff, especially the sudden proclamations to change just because the last number on our calendars flips over. People roll their eyes at resolutions but, I’m sorry, I LOVE New Year’s – and everything that goes with it!

So what if people choose to plan their goals now? And who cares if they give up before January is even out?! I’m in no position to look down on people who want to make positive changes.

It helps me feel optimistic about what’s to come, and having defined goals in a clear timeframe motivates me. Maybe it’s not for everyone, and that’s fine, but it works for me. So here’s what I’d like to achieve in 2019!


HOME. Moving out last year was huge for me. I don’t regret it one teeny, tiny bit but, of course, it’s expensive and time-consuming. I love our flat but there are so many things I’d change! A definite goal for next year is to make some serious home improvements. I’m hoping to make our home a cleaner, tidier space with much more personality and a few extra homely touches. I want it to really feel like somewhere we can de-clutter, de-stress and soak up those happy vibes.

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BLOG. Blogging is my only creative outlet and I really love it. This year, the intention was to grow the blog, turn it into something I could envision making an actual living from one day… but that hasn’t happened. It’s totally my fault! But I’d like 2019 to see more engagement, bigger numbers, real progress and a fresh coat of paint, so to speak.

WORK. This time last year I’d just started a new job and felt like I’d really made a positive career move. That’s still true, but I’ve been doing the same thing for a year now and, honestly, I’d just like to change things up a bit. I don’t mean finding a new job; I’d just like to change up my daily routine. New responsibilities, different tasks, maybe even a change in department – basically, I don’t want to be doing exactly the same thing this time next year.

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BODY. I’ve not looked after myself this year. I’ve gained loads of weight and really felt the impact of not living a healthier lifestyle. I mean, I wasn’t happy with my body before, so I’m having a bloody nightmare now! I’m still fighting the uphill battle to love myself, but I think regular exercise and healthier eating, consistently, would be super positive for me. I’ve made no secret that I struggle with that, but it’s playing havoc with my mental health now, so things need to change.

MONEY. Money isn’t everything, that’s why it’s at the bottom of my list. There’s food on the table and a roof over my head, I’m grateful for that. But it’s also pretty hard living entirely out of my overdraft; I honestly can’t remember when my bank balance didn’t start with a minus. I’ve dipped into savings, nest eggs and rainy day funds, I’ve taken out loans, I’ve borrowed from family and friends… Honestly, it’s exhausting. Getting out of my overdraft would lift a bloody huge weight off my shoulders and make a massive difference.

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My Little Foodie Triumphs | #ThisGirlEats

I’m not on a “diet”. I don’t believe in them, not really. Just look after yourself and do the best you can every day to reach your goals, whether that’s to lose weight on the scales or bulk up at the gym, tone a post-pregnancy bod or reap the health benefits of a new lifestyle. Just try, that’s all you can do.

I’m trying to get on board with a healthier way of life, especially in terms of what I eat. There are lots of changes I’ve made, and some I’ve still got left to make – plenty of mistakes, too! But I think it’s important to celebrate every step of the way, even the teeny tiny achievements. More often than not, these are the ones that make the most difference.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been making a note every time I’ve done something awesome that has helped me inch just that little bit closer to my goals. This is a list of my small but significant foodie triumphs.

1. Getting home from work, proper feeling a slice of thick, buttery toast would hit the spot but reaching for a mug of green tea instead of the bread bin.

2. But if I’m REALLY hungry, toasting up a bagel rather than snacking on sugary treats or a big bag of crisps.

3. Saying, “No thanks, I’ll just meet you in the break room later,” when the girls in the office are going to McDonald’s for lunch.

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4. And making sure I prep a packed lunch the night before so I’m armed with food to stop me caving. Which otherwise I totally would.

5. And when I do forget lunch, going to Boots and getting a meal deal instead of going to one of the many fast food outlets on the high street.

6. Writing down ‘Soup’ as a planned dinner one night every single week, and for once ACTUALLY FOLLOWING THROUGH AND HAVING SOUP FOR DINNER!

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7. Sitting in a pub garden after work, feeling pretty hungry and choosing a small side dish of halloumi to munch on rather than cheesy chips or nachos or a burger.

8. Having a binge weekend, but not letting that dictate the next week or so. Just accepting that you had a few indulgent days, it’s okay, you’re not doomed forever. You can get up on Monday and start again.

9. Deliberately dishing up meals onto smaller plates and bowls in an attempt to control portion size.

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10. Using the sunny weather (which we had when I started compiling this list…) as a good excuse to cut out the heavy lunches and make fresh fruit smoothies instead, getting more of my 5 A Day. ☀️

11. Setting a strict food shop budget every single week and actually sticking to it – and quite often keeping a few quid under it!

12. Keeping a bottle of water to hand at my desk each day instead of fizzy drinks or cups of coffee.

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13. Making sure that water is the ONLY thing at my desk – no snacks or treats stashed away means I don’t munch my way through the days!

14. Making the tough, life-changing decision to delete all of the fast food and takeaway apps from my phone, replacing them with more cost-effective, nutritious tools such as MySupermarket and BBC Good Food.

15. Being offered a chocolate biscuit with a nice cuppa on a Sunday afternoon and saying no thanks, because I’m just not feeling it and I don’t always have to say yes to food.

16. And when I do decide to take a biscuit, only taking one rather than delving into the tin time and time again.

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17. Along the same lines, buying myself a big-ass of Dairy Milk on an off day but not eating the whole thing in one go, being sensible enough to wrap some up and keep it in the fridge ready for another bad day.

18. Making dips like guacamole and salsa at home where possible instead of store bought, so I know exactly what goes into them (aside from my tortilla chips, obviously!)

19. Feeling the familiar late night craving for something sweet, almost being tempted enough to slip on some shoes, run down to the corner shop and waste money on confectionery – but settling for slippers and a low-cal hot chocolate.

20. Getting through every damn day, no matter how difficult, nourishing myself – whether that be with the warm, comforting hug of cheesy pasta sauce or the crisp, fresh crunch of salad – and taking care of myself, with whatever my body needs to keep taking on the world.

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Stop Stressing About Your Job, You’ve Got So Much to Thank It For! | #ThisGirlEats

We’ve all had jobs we hate. God knows I grew so sick and tired of my last job that I took a temp position with LESS pay just to escape it!

You might be stuck in the job you hate right now, spending your working day desperate to get out or being filled with dread every Sunday night at the thought of starting all over again on Monday, and that’s a rubbish place to be.

When you don’t like where you work or what you do, it sucks. It’s the worst. We spend more time at work than anywhere else so if you don’t enjoy it, it can kind of consume you. You spend so much time wrapped up in all the bad things – crappy pay, bad managers, horrible co-workers, nasty customers, long-ass commute, boring tasks, awkward shift patterns… There’s a lot that can make you feel down about  work. So much so, we often forget about all the great things about work!

I’m not talking about perks of the job as such, but we all go to work for a reason, right? I was really down in the dumps at my last job, but in reality I had an awful lot to thank it for.

While I was working there, I moved out and rented my first flat 🏠 I took driving lessons, passed my test and bought my first car 🚗 I took holidays to Disneyland Paris, Edinburgh, Tenerife and Ibiza 🌴 I set up this blog, paid for the domain and bought all the foodie bits that have gone along with it 🍕 So many things have happened in my life that would never have even come about if that job hadn’t enabled them to.

Alright, so I’m skint right now, but I’m much happier doing what I do on a daily basis and, hey, my current job is helping me out with plenty too. It’s keeping that same rented roof over my head, it’s putting petrol in my car and feeding my recipe ideas, it’s buying festival tickets and saving up spending money for summer days out. It’s keeping me afloat, really.

It’s natural to complain about work, we’d all rather be somewhere else 99% of the time. But to keep it from dragging you down, think every now and again about what your job actually does for you, rather than just the negative. Ask yourself what would happen if you DIDN’T have your job. What would you do if you lost your job? I’m sure you’d appreciate what it does for you a hell of a lot more then.

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How Changing Jobs Finally Allowed Me to Enjoy My Christmas | #ThisGirlEats

Shout out to all the frazzled retail workers: I feel ya. This time of year is awful for you guys – until very recently, I was one of you guys! After my time as an Xmas sales assistant, three distinct experiences spring to mind…

1. The queues. Oh dear God, the queues…

2. The questions. Just so. Many. Questions.

3. The very rude, inexplicably angry customers. “Why don’t you have this in stock?” “I’m actually in a rush, I don’t have time for any of your offers.” “5p for a bag?! Outrageous!” “Why can’t I return this without a receipt? I know my rights, you know!

It’s shit. You get zero time to yourself. You’re expected to work crazy hours that give the bigwig CEOs – who sit in their comfy offices and work nice, normal hours – cartoonish dollar signs in their eyes. You’re there at the crack of dawn for the early shoppers. You’re there until late at night for the after-work buyers. You’re there on Christmas Eve for the last minute-ers. You’re there on Boxing Day for the sales fanatics. You’re literally always at work.

There’s no build-up for you. No lovely festive shopping trips, no pre-Christmas get-togethers, no cosying up on the sofa for a day of mulled wine and Christmas films. Grabbing a spare few hours between shifts to purchase, wrap and deliver presents is a military mission. You get one day, ONE DAY, to celebrate – Christmas Day. My ‘one day’ had to be split between mine and my boyfriend’s family, so I ended up with half a day to see my ‘rents, my grandparents, my extended family (who I bloody love)… everyone!

It makes getting into the festive spirit really, really hard.

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This year I left retail at the very last moment – I was Indiana Jones, rolling under the store shutter and snatching up my trusty hat just in the nick of time. I switched to my first office-based role in December and, thanks to the time of year, I’ve instantly felt the benefits.

The Christmas party, for one. When you’re a retail worker in a shopping centre or central city location, it’s impossible to arrange the perfect time for a Christmas bash – someone, somewhere, is always working and, inevitably, we’re told the party will just have to wait until the New Year… Again. But the office Christmas party – much like the recent Jennifer Anniston flick – went all-out and, for the first time, work felt Christmassy to me.

The computers are decorated with tinsel. Treats sit waiting for you on the desk – a secret santa gift, a thank you from your manager. Everyone wants to go for pre-Christmas drinks after work because, why not, it’s only 5pm. Not to mention actually knowing in advance which festive days you can spend with your loved ones – including Boxing Day and the glorious feeling of not facing the crazy ‘o’ clock shoppers first thing in the morning!

I don’t at all envy those who are stuck in yet another year of Christmas retail. I sympathise – no, I empathise – with you. Who knows, I may well end up back there again one day, the office might not be the place for me after all. Only time will tell. But for now, I know for sure that I’m so, so glad I left my retail job when I did because I finally feel like I can enjoy Christmas, just like everyone else.

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