field of spring flowers

There’s Always a Reason to Smile

In the midst of all the Coronavirus (COVID-19) worry across the world right now, there ought to be something out there to create some happiness. It all seems quite surreal doesn’t it? I’d like to play my part and share this post which stems from the idea that there are plenty of reasons to smile, 4 of which hold a lot of relevancy to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Kindness

As the Coronavirus outbreak increases, I’ve seen panic buyers at the shops, some selfish acts – overbuying and not giving others (mostly those which are more vulnerable, havie children, elderly etc.) the chance to purchase essentials items. However, I’ve seen many acts of kindness amongst all of the madness. Stores across the UK such as Iceland, M&S and Sainsbury’s are offering an hour in the morning for the elderly and vulnerable people to shop. There are also people in their local communities working hard to create packages for the people most in need. And it goes without saying that, the NHS are doing an incredible job looking after those who are hospitalised and emergency services are increasing their efforts to help.

Spring

20th March 2020 marks the first day of spring here in the UK. It’s a time of year that always makes me smile. As we slowly move away from the wintry weather (or at least we hope) it’s exciting to look forward to the sunshine and brighter days. There’s something about the appearance of colourful flowers and daffodils that makes me smile. It also means we’re closer to summer. Even if we don’t know how summer will play out at the moment we can still hope for good things. One thing that comes to mind is the old buttercup challenge from my childhood, you know the one where you would put a buttercup under your chin to see if there’s a yellow reflection to show if you ‘like butter’?! My grandad used to do this every spring when I was a little girl. It’s the littlest thing but it makes me so happy when I think about that.

Relaxation

I know this is harder for some than it is for others. If the stress is hitting you hard at the moment with work situations, money, concerns about your health or of a friend/family member, find some relaxation techniques that work for you. For me, a long soak in the bath and a cuddle from my favourite person in the world helps. The biggest kick in reality is that, sometimes there isn’t much you can do to stop situation. But together, we can help it e.g. self-isolate when necessary, social distancing, listening to the expert advice etc. Throughout it all, try your best to stay calm, surround yourself with positive thoughts and keep in touch with friends and family members to check in on them.

Music

I really do believe that there’s a song for every kind of mood. There’s music to help you concentrate, relax, sing your heart out in the shower… you know what works for you. Listening to music is something I do on a daily basis. I’m not quite sure what I’d do without it. It has the power to boost my mood and helps me put my thoughts into perspective. On days like today it’s important to find the the things that help to better your mood and keep you in high spirits. Let music be a part of it!

Look after yourselves everyone and remember to be kind, especially in all of the craziness that’s happening in world right now. And remember, the impact a smile, or doing something to make someone smile has. Especially, for those who need it the most right now, it’s something small, but very meaningful.

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?

Follow Tasha’s Lifestyle on Twitter to see more posts.

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?

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.

girl jumping in the sky

What Makes You The Person You Are Today

I’m very much a ‘whatever will be will be’ kind of person but I think that, in terms of achieving more, it takes a lot of hard work. You might look around and think that some people get a lot of things handed to them. It could be the case but you also don’t know their backstory. It might be that at the eye, they look as though things in life come ‘easy’ to them. But you don’t always know. This post is about the person I am today through my challenges in the education and employment world.

Going back to your roots

Looking back at your roots is important and it’s something I for one, never forget. No matter the number of accomplishments, it’s your background that has a huge impact on you. You can keep it with you or look towards what could be in the future. It’s down to you to decide what you want to do when you become an adult. And as tough as it is, it’s a road you have to take. Everything you experience shapes you into the person you are today e.g. friendships, bullies, childhood, employment etc. You can be influenced from what others have done around you or you can do something different.

Education after education

Take your childhood years, what kind of kid was you at school? In primary school I was probably referred to as let’s say ‘a geek’. But I have always enjoyed learning. Writing and creativity along with numbers here and there has always been my thing.

In high school I worked even harder and my grades shown that.

College is where it became difficult. There were 1 or 2 subjects where I wasn’t performing as high as I wanted to be when it came to exams. Isn’t it funny, when you think if you sat those exams today you’d understand them a whole lot better?

Still, I made it into university. It wasn’t through clearance but through them taking a nerve-wracking 2 weeks on my side of waiting to see if they saw potential. I count my lucky stars that they got to meet me in an interview when applying and they looked over my application again and seen something in me. I didn’t love university but I didn’t hate it. Graduating though, is one of my proudest moments. Just like my school and colleges years, I wasn’t the most popular person in the room but the love from my family in the crowd and a couple of classmates did it for me.

Employment in the big wide world

As much as you think the above are going to be the biggest challenges in your life, you soon realise how wrong you was. Securing a full-time permanent position was one of my biggest struggles. It took a massive toll on me mentally and I believe it played a part of the many times of worry I had. Constant doubts in myself whilst telling myself something good would happen… a bit of an uneven field really.

After high school I went to my first ever interview and secured a casual/part-time job in a retail store for a football club.

I gained a lot of recognition there and experienced many different aspects that there was to offer. But there comes a time when you need to think about your future – where do you want to be? Even if you don’t quite know what.

I took a part-time (temporary) job working in the learning support department at a college.

Although it was only for a short period of time, I gained more professional day-to-day experience of an education environment from the other side, rather than the student perspective. Again, I was highly respected and thanked for repetitively for my contributions.

Luckily, during my time here, I submitted voluntary writing to their marketing department which led to a marketing assistant (maternity cover) role.

The problem – it was another temporary job and the environment wasn’t as it seemed. It was very patronising and I felt down most of the time.

How many interviews later?

You start to question if all of your education was worth it, if you should settle for something in the meantime? But that’s where my stubborn nature kicked in. I went against what the majority of people around me said.

I fought harder and harder. Giving up was never an option and I knew that too well. Having faith in myself to travel on my own path through all of the hurdles I faced has been one of the most worthwhile things I’ve ever done. Including the two roles above it took 25 interviews to land my dream role.

I found my match in the employment world

I’ve volunteered and fundraised for charities since the age of 15 years old. So the news that I was joining a charity as an employee was amazing. In the last two and half  years I’ve grown so much. My confidence and strength has massively improved. The old me who would worry and stress, way more than necessary, if even necessary at all, sees a new light. And that’s on a personal and professional level. Maybe becoming a homeowner with Danny has also helped? Whichever way I look at it, I’m much stronger than the person I used to be.

And today I’ve reached a bigger place than I ever thought I would – becoming a marketing manager. My mum melts my heart with the messages she’s been sending me since receiving the news. Danny smiles even more than ever. And out of anyone they both continue to tell me how proud they are of me.

Don’t be scared to share your journey

Whether you put pen to paper or type online in the digital world – if you have a story to tell, share it. You will honestly be amazed to see who reads it, who cheers you on and those who learn that there is more to you than they thought. It also helps you, to see how far you’ve come.

What makes you the person you are today?