two pink balloons in the sky

What the Last Year Has Meant to Me

The last year has been an incredible journey. It brings me to think about 28th February, a date that will stay in my mind for all of the years to come. On that day one year ago, me and Danny became homeowners. From the moment we officially received the keys to our first house we knew that a new adventure was about to begin.

Many people tend to look back on accomplishments at the end of the year. However, now is the perfect time for me to have this reflection.

The good and the bad times

Becoming a homeowner plays a part in the things I’m about to tell you because in my eyes, it makes you more grown up than you could imagine. But there are also other things along the way that have happened, good and bad, that have given me the strength I needed today. It’s been the best year of my life but it hasn’t been exciting for the whole part.

The loss of uncle Dom was the hardest time; seeing him just after he lost his life to cancer literally was the biggest gulp I’ve ever had to take. But whenever there’s loss in your life, you think about the things that should be celebrated and just how much things and people mean to you. There are bound to be times of silence but there are also many moments of happiness and they are the ones that you should hold onto. They help you to move forward and value all of the great things in your life.

Talking of moments of happiness, since I moved into this house, I don’t think I’ve ever sang so much in the bath or shower. Usually I can’t even stay in the bath for more than 10 minutes because I struggle to relax. Things are so different now. I’ve learnt how to relax… a lot more than I used to anyway.

Times of worry

I don’t think anyone really knows how much I worry – it’s a great deal. I have coping mechanisms now for certain scenarios. However, the biggest lesson I’ve learn is how you react, standing your ground and keeping your head up high. Surrounding myself with the people who accept the random and craziest parts of me is the energy I need. What’s more, to say I’m lucky to have that one person who understands when I need have my own space, but to be there 24/7, is so comforting for me. Without that, I wouldn’t have shaped into the person who’s here today writing this post.

The last year has been brought me huge career progression. New and exciting things have always scared me. I don’t have a fear of commitment, it’s more the thought of failing something or someone. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t doubted myself this year. I’ve probably done it far too many times. But what’s important is keeping your focus and staying on track for the things you know you can do. Having faith in yourself is step number one. If you’ve got that then you’re onto a good start.

No disguise – just us

The best of all though, has to be the experience of living with Danny. Many people will throw things at you like, “Oh you’ll learn so much about each other…. you’ll do each other’s head in.” Guess what, learning more about each other is what it’s all about. Being there for each other and seeing each other in all kind of lights, is what should make you love them more. We’re talkers, we don’t hide our emotions. Calling each other names isn’t our thing or slamming doors, it’s about communicating when we’re in a disagreement and understanding each other’s perspective.

That’s always been us though, doing our own thing. And Danny has always told me to be proud of who I am, regardless of what anyone else sees in me/us. Having each other is what we need.

There will always be challenges

Neither of the above have passed without a challenge. But what’s life without hurdles that you pass to help you grow into the person you are today? Together, me and Danny work hard to maintain our home. We plan together and still save together to enjoy life’s biggest adventures, whether it be physically and emotionally. The last year especially has shown me that we don’t have a ‘still’ point. There’s always more to feel. And I think that’s so important and for us, acts as a big part of who we are and how our relationship is built.

It seems surreal at first, when things happen that you didn’t expect, or in a bigger way that you could’ve imagined. I never thought I’d see myself as a manager, nor have did I imagine to become a homeowner at this point in my life. But things can take time, special milestones even longer. And I’m so glad I let time play its part. I’ve never rushed into anything because, well, why? I’m a believer in having patience and seeing where life can take you. Sometimes, you can blink too fast and miss the best things that life has to offer. I like to experience and feel everything before coming to decisions that affect my future.

Then and now

I remember the days when me and Danny were just friends and he always pictured taking me on dates, watching his favourite film together, buying me flowers… so much has happened since then. I couldn’t possibly write it all in a blog post.

It’s been crazy! There’s so much more to look forward to this year. New York in June has got to be the best thing yet to come. And I’m going to see Alicia Keys in Kraków (because she’s in Manchester when we’re in New York)! On the day we return from New York, it will be uncle Dom’s anniversary and that makes me realise how scary it is to see how fast time passes you by.

If you take anything away from reading this post, remember to love the small moments, the ones that can’t be replaced, the ones that wouldn’t feel the same with anyone else. Take new situations with an open mind and give it all you’ve got. Talk to someone if you’re feeling down and most all, be happy and be kind.

star shaped confetti being poured out of a jar

Small Acts of Kindness

There’s always something and someone who inspires me to write each post. This particular one comes to life as I think about my grandad, a man who never asked for anything and gave nothing but love and kindness. A piece of his personality stays with me each day no matter how many years go by and I think it always will. I want to continue his kind-hearted nature, it’s the legacy he left behind and it’s what I’m supposed to do.

Kindness, is something which is free to give and yet not enough people choose to give it. Imagine if half of us witnessed an act of kindness every day? Don’t you think the world would be more of a loving place? I do.

This is coming from someone who’s sensitive emotions can reach an all-time high on occasions but I honestly think people should consider people’s feelings before they act. Some might say that’s unfortunate because “it’s life”. But why should it always be that way?

Kindness costs nothing

We can’t make miracles but we can try to create more happiness and more respect for one another. So as the saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Since a young age, let’s say, early teenage years, I’ve witnessed people bring others down, bullying and judgmental acts. It’s as though it gives the person on the giving end a sense of power. Why? It doesn’t make you all big and mighty. It doesn’t make you a nice person.

If you’re giving or striving off bad energy then you need to take a long hard look at yourself. It’s not big and it’s not clever. To those people who disagree, why do you feel the need to impress your friends or whoever the ‘leader’ is by being unkind to others? Seriously, where’s the sense in that?

The sad thing is, some people don’t even need a leader. They might be blind to the fact they come across in an unfriendly/rude manner and think it’s just their personality. Or they know it and still continue to act that way. Imagine if more people considered how they speak to someone, treat others, and apologised for the instances where their words weren’t necessary…

Kindness should happen every day

It shouldn’t take awareness days to spread more kindness. Of course, they help, but it should be something we do on auto pilot. As someone who’s been bullied, words mean a lot. I go through stages where a small comment can play on my mind. It’s like it’s on repeat and I wonder if I need to be better. I’ve gained a lot of strength over the past few years but it doesn’t mean to say that my feelings haven’t been challenged.

The world can be a cruel place but it can also be a kind one. We need to live in a world where kindness outweighs the harshness of people’s words and actions. Words can be more powerful than actions, and combined they can cut deeper than people think. They affect the way people think, act and feel overall about themselves.

Start to show more acts of kindness today

I wish we didn’t live in a world where it takes for tragic events to happen for people to realise that kindness could’ve been an option. It is and always will be, so we should use it wherever we can. Will you start to show more acts of kindness?

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dandelion blowing with a breeze

The Challenging Road to Confidence

Sometimes people can lower your confidence, why is that? The simple answer is, they can only affect your confidence if you allow them to. Recently I’ve learnt the key for this is how you react to scenarios. Building your confidence is a longer road for some than it is for others.

Looking after you includes looking after your mind so don’t neglect it

If your mind tends to be anything like mine, it’s a sensitive one and more powerful than you think. It’s not only the heart that makes you feel. I think the mind plays a part. Don’t look at what they’re doing, focus on you. When someone undermines you, speak up. Some people find it so easy to belittle others and you find it so difficult to stand up for yourself. That needs to change. Sitting in a corner isolating yourself will only put you into a dark place.

It’s a strange one because people perceive you as a naturally confident and smiley person 24/7. We all have low periods in our life. You can feel so low that you feel like giving up but there’s always a way to get around such situations. Talk to someone, you’ll be surprised who will listen. And you’ll realise that there are people who care more than you think.

How you think others see you can knock your confidence

Don’t let tough or challenging experiences make you feel ‘weak’ or like you’re a failure. It’s down to you to control how you let your mind think. You can have the kindest of things said to you like, “You’re amazing! Don’t let anyone get you down.” But your mind is only going to consider your own thoughts. So why don’t you change your perspective?

Take out of your mind the idea that pleasing others is the best option. Think about it, are they considering the pressure they’re putting on you? Probably not. Learn to say no. Sometimes you can feel nervous approaching new situations, places or people. Try not to lose your confidence if you feel overpowered by somebody or if you think you’re less ‘important’.

You deserve to be valued. There’s always something special that only you have and no one else does. Even if there are similarities, it doesn’t become close because it’s yours.

You don’t need to fight hard times on your own

You can still be the strong, independent person that you are. Remember, it’s okay to ask for guidance or support when needed. Visualise the person you know you really are and stop doubting yourself, you have so much potential, much more than you think. Life can throw all sorts at you, fight back, you’re stronger than you think.

Mental health is such a popular topic at the moment, it’s something we all have and more people need to realise that. Time to Talk Day 2020 is coming up on 6th February. Find out more on the awareness day website: www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day.

pink smiley face ball on water

Reflecting on What I’m Most Grateful for Over the Last Year

It’s a new year and a whole new decade. Being a 90’s baby means I’m entering my 4th decade which sounds pretty strange when I’m only 25 years old (for 3 more months). But I’ve learnt so much in my quarter of a century especially in this last year. That brings me nicely to the things that I’m most grateful for.

Becoming homeowners

Next month it’ll be a year since me and Danny became homeowners. To this day and probably for every day forward I’ll never quite believe it. Whenever I’m home alone I take a moment to look around and think about how we made it, we got something we always dreamed of.

Some people might say that living together is a nightmare; that for us girls it’ll drive us crazy with socks lying around on the floor etc. But believe it or not, this isn’t the case for us. It’s even better than I imagined it to be. Our relationship has grown so much stronger and I’ve realised it’s a bond that can’t be broken. Minus the snoring, there’s nothing better than falling asleep each night with the one you love and waking up each morning beside them.

Another year of us

From day one of officially being together, I’ve loved being referred to as “Tasha and Danny”. It’s something that was there during our friendship but meant so much more when that changed to a relationship.

Another year of being in love with the one person I never imagined to love me (for more than 2 weeks), has been amazing. It turns out I’m the clueless one because he has loved me for a very long time now. Recently, I’ve had a bigger perspective from all of the challenges we’ve faced. One day you realise what’s always been there and that it’ll only get stronger. This period of our relationship has possibly been the best one yet.

Keeping the best friendships

I believe that people appear in your life for a reason, whether they stay or leave, there’s always a purpose. And the ones that stay for the hardest and biggest times in your life are the ones who are supposed to be there.

Whether it’s a couple or a few friends you can count on your hand, the value means more than the number. I’m so thankful for the people I have in my life right now and I honestly think they’re the ones that will stay for a lifetime.

It goes without saying that I’ve built stronger friendships with family members too which is always nice to have.

Looking over the last year, what are you most thankful for?

paper star decoration hanging

The Magic of Christmas Never Disappears

The festive season, a time for thankfulness and having fun with your family. For those of us who don’t have to work over Christmas, we get to make the most of lounging around, wearing several pairs of new pyjamas and eating lots of food and snacks around the house.

25th December 2019 was mine and Danny’s first Christmas in our first home and our seventh Christmas spent together as a couple. This year has been much more significant than other years and I think living together has played a huge part. Not only has the friendship side of us which sparked way back when grown but we’ve fell in love even more than I imagined we could.

Since we bought our first real Christmas tree and decorated it, I knew this year was going to be more magical than previous years. Call me emotional but I cried. I think it was the whole idea of looking how far we have come together and finally being in a place we have always dreamed of. Danny is the most warm-hearted person and he’s the one who will remind you there’s always so much love to give.

It showed when I couldn’t hold back the tears on Christmas Day morning. We opened presents from family and friends first and then what we got each other. The final present I opened from Danny got me. It’s no surprise to anyone that I’m quite the sentimental kind of person so this gift means so much to me. The thought that went into it made it so amazing. He bought me a map of how the stars looked on the night of our first date and it even has the time on it. Some say that men don’t remember things, I must’ve got lucky! The colour even matches our bedroom so once we’ve got a frame for it, I’ll share a photo.

Of all the lovely gifts we received this year, for me, the best of all was spending Christmas morning with each other, just the two of us. And of course seeing family for the rest of the day and night made it as enjoyable as it was.

I’m a reflective kind of person as it is but I find that Christmas and New Year brings us more time to think about the year and previous years in comparison to the present. Some years bring the loss of loved ones just like uncle Dom in June, and challenges arise but it’s important to remember that you can always feel the magic of Christmas if you look close enough. Smiling and laughing over Christmas season doesn’t mean you forget about the people you miss the most.

This December, I’ve thought about many things including what the future has to offer. If you don’t feel it right now, I hope that 2020 brings a new perspective. A year full of happiness surrounded by those that you love.

metal chain at a port during sunset

Having Strength Through the Good and Bad Days

For weeks now, I’ve had this blog post pending. When I say ‘blog post’ I mean a blank screen with question marks as the title. The truth is, I’ve been having a serious case of writer’s block and this has got to be about the fifth time I’ve revisited this post. Music and reflection have got to be my biggest motivators though. So, right now it’s a bit of soul music and thinking about where I am today to get me through.

You can’t predict the future

As someone who loves to be organised and plan things in advance, the future is unknown. That’s something I have to remember every day. You never know what’s going to happen. You might have an idea of how something’s going to play out. However, the unexpected can happen at any time.

Take these two examples – one for the better and one which posed much hurt in our family this year. Not too long ago I was promoted to marketing manager at work. I couldn’t quite believe it but I had to because there’s a great deal of work involved and it’s important to get stuck in put ideas together. Some could say that this is the light at the end of a sad situation. Although age is no barrier, it’s a huge accomplishment for my age, I think?

Putting everything into perspective

In June we lost a family member to neuroendocrine cancer, our uncle Dom. Losing someone makes you crumble. You retaliate with anger, question everything and think of all the ways to have it together. But the truth is, you don’t have to be the one who’s always strong. Being perceived as ‘the strong one’ holds so much pressure. And being on that end of the picture, remember that tears don’t make you weak.

The same goes for anything, you don’t always have to have all of the answers. You can be good at something but no one’s perfect. And as much as it might seem that others ‘know it all’, they don’t. No one does. I honestly think that as prepared as you might be, life can throw all kind of things in your way. Don’t let hurdles get the best of you. Jump over them as high as you can and believe that you will always aim for bigger things. Whenever you think you’re having a ‘bad day’, think about the hardest times you’ve got through before.

You’re stronger than you think

I can’t say it enough because it’s so true. It’s always taken someone else to show me this but it’s something I truly believe in. Strength is down to you build and your mind is the most powerful part. Until you put doubts aside and not let giving up be an option, you’ll find a new perspective. Seeming powerful on the outside is one thing, but until you discover what’s inside, is when you’ll be the best version of you.

It’s amazing to see how much your confidence can develop. There might still be scenarios when you don’t see it yourself but for the most part you can be amazed at the things you never thought you’d be able to do. For example, speaking in front of a large audience, one a speech about grief at a funeral and the other about love at a wedding. Both hold such different emotions but I presented the both of them. I think you never know until you try. Maybe public speaking at events will be a new thing… who knows?

Don’t be afraid to try something new. When it comes to the negativity, ignore what others might think and focus on what being happy means to you.