Travel Diary: Sidi Bou Said

Located in the north of Tunisia, about 20 minutes from the bustling capital of Tunis, is the charming seaside town of Sidi Bou Said. Known as the “Artist’s Village’ it is easy to see why Sidi Bou Said has been a popular bohemian getaway since the late 19th century.

With its winding cobblestoned streets, hidden courtyards and gardens and endless alleyways, Sidi Bou Said is the perfect place to spend the day exploring and taking in the views from the cliffs out to the Mediterranean below.

It is also a great base from which to explore the surrounding area. The ruins of ancient Carthage are nearby, and it is an easy trip into town to explore the sprawling maze of the Souq lined Medina in Tunis.

Travel Diary: Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia | Gypsy Rova Blog

Getting there: from Tunis take the TGM Metro (known locally as the “Blue Train”) which departs every 20 minutes or so. There are also several day tours running from Tunis to the village. Cars are banned in the village centre.

Where to stay: La Villa Bleue – A beautiful boutique style hotel overlooking the Mediterranean. Hotel Dar Said – Set in a traditional merchants house Hotel Dar Said is an authentic and relaxing small hotel.

Where to eat and drink: Au Bon Vieux Temps – French, Mediterranean. With stunning views overlooking the Mediterranean this is the perfect spot to watch the sun go down while enjoying your meal. Restaurant Dar Zarrouk  – Tunisian. With plenty of tables both inside and out and views over the Marina, this is another great option for evening dining. Cafe des Nattes This iconic traditional cafe perched above the village, is a great spot to people watch while enjoying the traditional sweet mint tea, or local coffee.

Travel Diary: Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia | Gypsy Rova BlogTravel Diary: Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia | Gypsy Rova BlogRestaurant Dar Zarrouk

Shopping: Sidi Bou Said is a great place to pick up souvenirs of your trip to Tunisia. Carpets, colourful pottery, leather goods, and jewellery are amongst some of the things on offer.

Travel Diary: Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia | Gypsy Rova Blog

Street vendors sell sweetly scented Jasmine flowers.

Travel Diary: Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia | Gypsy Rova Blog

The maze of narrow cobblestoned streets provide much needed shade from the heat of the day.

Travel Diary: Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia | Gypsy Rova Blog

In the late afternoon the village shimmers in the sunlight. It is a good time to take advantage of one of the villages courtyard cafes. Relax in the shade and enjoy a glass of the local sweet mint tea.

Travel Diary: Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia | Gypsy Rova Blog

Travel Diary: Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia | Gypsy Rova Travels

Everywhere you look in the village you’ll find elaborate iron latticework, and colourful studded doors.

Travel Diary: Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia | Gypsy Rova Travels

Archways give glimpses of the glistening Mediterranean below.

Travel Diary: Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia | Gypsy Rova Travels

In the balmy afternoon air, music floats out onto the streets from behind the doors of iron gated villas. This was one of my favourites. I can definitely see myself living here!

Travel Diary: Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia | Gypsy Rova BlogTravel Diary: Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia | Gypsy Rova Blog

Read more about Tunis and Sidi Bou Said in my next post here.

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Female Travellers: 20 Safety Tips

Safety can be a big concern for female travellers, especially when you’re travelling alone. When my sister and I first started to travel overseas, we would get a lot of advice from well meaning friends and relatives that we used to refer to at the time as ‘scaremongers’.

While I think you can take many of the nightmare travel stories you hear with a grain of salt, there are some precautions you can take which will make you feel more prepared for any situation and in control of your safety.

After many years of working as a travel agent and flight attendant, I have done more than my share of solo travel. These are some of the tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way.

20 Travel Safety Tips For Female Travellers | Gypsy Rova Blog

 

1. Don’t advertise your room number  – whether you’re arranging to meet friends later, or charging something back to your room in the hotel restaurant, be careful who is within earshot when you’re giving out your room number or the name of your hotel.

2. Use your do not disturb sign – if you have valuables in your room, leave the do not disturb sign on the door when you’re heading out to help prevent theft. Lock laptops, cameras and any other valuables in the hotel safe or your suitcase.

3. Be social media savvy – in a world where our private lives have become very public its a good idea to be cautious about sharing your travel plans online. If you’re posting on Instagram or Facebook turn location services off and don’t advertise your plans for the next few days.

4. Blend in nothing screams ‘I’m a tourist’ like a backpack, belt bag and a map. Try to blend in with the locals and dress as you would if you lived there to avoid unwanted attention. As convenient as a day pack is, they are easier for an opportunistic pick pocket to access when you’re distracted.  Instead, opt for a cross body bag which will still fit everything you need, but can be worn towards the front so you can keep a good eye on it when you’re walking around or on public transport.

5. Check in with family or friends at home – it’s always a good idea to leave a rough itinerary with a friend or family member at home. If you’re travelling alone arrange to check in daily with someone – a quick text message or email to a friend or family member is all  it takes to keep them up to date with your movements.

6. Use trusted taxi companies only – when you’re running late to get to the airport or you’re tired and just want to get back to your hotel it can be tempting to jump into any taxi that’s available. Always check which are the reputable taxi companies in your destination and use their cars only. It can also be a good idea to make a habit of noting the licence plate of the taxi you’re in, in case you leave any of your belongings in the taxi.

7. Respect local customs – do your research on local customs before you travel. Abide by local dress codes and respect their values to avoid causing unnecessary offence and confrontation.

8. Always take out travel insurance – insurance can be one of those things that seems like just another expense, especially if you are travelling on a budget, but with medical costs being so high for non-citizens in many countries, it really is essential. Most travel insurance will also cover you against loss or theft of your belongings.

9. Language barriers – in a country where you don’t speak the language, it is always a good idea to get one of the hotel staff to write the name and address of your hotel in the local language on a piece of paper for you to pass to taxi drivers in case you have trouble communicating.

10. Trust your intuition – if your gut says no, don’t do it. When a friend and I were visiting the pyramids in Egypt a man offered to show us a spot where you could get the best view. At the time it didn’t feel right and we didn’t go. We later heard that it is a popular scam to lead you away from the main tourist area and rob you. Nine times out of ten your intuition will be right, so listen to it.

11. Research scams – ok so it’s not the most exciting thing to research before you travel abroad, but as they say forewarned is forearmed. Just do a quick google search for common tourist scams in your destination so you know what to watch out for. Chances are you won’t come across them, but it’s a good feeling to be prepared.

12. Wear a fake wedding ring – I wouldn’t suggest that you need to do this all the time, however, if you’re travelling to an area where you feel that you may stand out and attract a lot of unwanted attention from the opposite sex, a fake wedding ring can help to avoid the problem. In saying that, the mention of a fiancé or boyfriend may well have the same effect.

13. Carry only what cash you need with you – work out roughly what cash you will need for the day and leave the rest in your hotel safe. Keep a separate coin purse for tipping and making small purchases so you’re not having to get your wallet out more than necessary. Keep some spare cash and a credit card hidden somewhere in your suitcase for emergencies.

14. Check the location of the nearest fire exit from your room – when you check into your hotel room, memorise which direction the nearest fire exit is and how many doors that you need to pass to get to it in case visibility is limited. I once woke up to a fire alarm in a hotel in the middle of the night, and was so disorientated that I struggled to remember which city I was in, let alone where the exit was. Luckily it was a minor fire, however, had it been serious I would have struggled to find my way out.

15. Don’t wear expensive jewellery or carry designer handbags – it can be tempting to want to look as good as possible, especially in fashionable destinations like Milan or Rome. You can still look great, but avoid the temptation to draw attention to yourself by showing off your best designer gear and jewellery.

16. Get your bearings – whenever I’m in a new city I tend to do some sort of city tour on my first day to get my bearings and give me a feel for the areas that are safe and others that are perhaps best to avoid. The hop on hop off tours are great as you generally get a 48 hour ticket, which allows you to spend more time visiting any of the sights that you didn’t have time to visit on the first day.

17. Make friends with other female travellers –  day trips are a great way to meet other travellers and make friends. When I was visiting Los Angeles alone, I met two lovely ladies on a day tour and ended up meeting up with them for dinner that evening. I always find dinner time to be quite lonely when I’m travelling alone, so if you can find other ladies in the same situation it can really make a difference.

18. Drinking – I have been unlucky enough to have had my drink spiked while in a bar in Melbourne and it was not a pleasant experience at all! Thankfully, I was with a group of girls who soon realised what had happened when I collapsed. If you’re out in bars try to order bottled drinks that are opened in front of you, and never leave your drink unattended. It sounds like an obvious one, but when you’re travelling it can be so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment and let your guard down after a couple of drinks.

19. Budget extra – when you’re planning your trip budget a little extra to allow you to change accommodation at the last minute if you feel unsafe, or hail a taxi rather than walking alone at night.

20. Register with your governments, relevant travel safety authority – 

UK Citizens: follow the Foreign Office on Twitter: https://twitter.com/foreignoffice

US Citizens: register with U.S. Department of State

NZ Citizens: register with Safe Travel

Australian Citizens: register with Smarttraveller

Canadian Citizens: register with Registration of Canadians abroad

I’d love to hear any of your top travel safety tips in the comments below.

Safe travels!

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Blueberry, Spinach, Banana & Acai Superfood Smoothie

Happy Easter! Spring is finally here and after the long weekend I’m feeling refreshed and relaxed. I’m ready get summer ready and refocus on my health and wellbeing (especially after indulging in a few too many Easter eggs).

Breakfasts can be one of the trickiest meals to keep healthy, especially if you’re a busy mum, working full time or studying and need to be out of the door quickly in the morning. Smoothies have changed my life when it comes to having a fast, nutrient packed breakfast with minimal clean up.

One of my favourite breakfast smoothies is this blueberry, spinach, banana and Acai superfood smoothie, which is packed with antioxidants, potassium and iron. It takes five minutes to make and is a delicious and healthy start to the day.

Get your free printable recipe here.

 

Blueberry, Spinach, Banana & Acai Superfood Smoothie (Free Printable Recipe) | Gypsy Rova Blog

Here are some time saving tips for your smoothie preparation:

  • At the start of the week prepare individual bags with daily servings of your banana, blueberries and any other fruit and freeze. Not only will this prevent waste and save time, but the frozen fruit will make your smoothie chilled and creamy.
  • Your smoothie can be made the night before. Just fill an airtight jar or container right to the brim to prevent it from oxidising and keep it in the fridge overnight. Shake well in the morning before drinking.
  • Store your rolled oats, superfood supplements, nuts and any other dried goods in airtight jars in a dark place for freshness and easy access.
  • Don’t be scared to add more spinach, replace it with kale or use a mixture of both – just make sure you use a high speed blender, particularly with kale.
  • For added natural sweetness use pineapple, stevia, dates, honey or agave syrup.

Do you have any time saving tips or favourite smoothie recipes? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Enjoy!

PRIVATE PROPERTY-5

Blueberry, Spinach, Banana & Acai Superfood Smoothie (Free Printable Recipe) | Gypsy Rova Blog

Blueberry, Spinach, Banana & Acai Superfood Smoothie (Free Printable Recipe) | Gypsy Rova Blog

Blueberry, Spinach, Banana & Acai Superfood Smoothie (Free Printable Recipe) | Gypsy Rova Blog

 

Inspirational Reading For Bloggers and Creative Entrepreneurs

When I was planning and launching my blog, I didn’t know where to turn to for practical advice and guidance so I’ve put together a list of books that helped inspire and motivate me on my creative journey.

Whether you’re looking to start or grow a blog or creative business, these books will help you improve your writing and photography,  identify and develop your ideas, and create your brand.

Inspirational Reading For Bloggers & Creative Entrepreneurs | Gypsy Rova Blog

 

1. The Busy Girls Guide to Digital Photography by Lorna Yabsey – If you’re looking for a book that explains in clear and easy to understand ways, the fundamental principles of  photography this is a great read.

 

2. Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert – If you’re struggling to harness your creativity or letting fear get in the way, this book makes some very good points.

 

3. A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book by  Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman – This book is from the creative sisters behind abeautifulmess.com  Full of photography tips and projects, it will definitely give you the inspiration to create beautiful images for your blog or small business.

 

4. My Bucket List (Insert Your Story) by Axel and Ash  – This gorgeous hardcover journal is filled with beautiful images, stories, quotes and tips, inspiring you to collect and fulfil all those dreams, desires and ideas of what you want to do with your one extraordinary life.

5. The Passion Test by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood This is a great read for anyone feeling they need to take stock and refocus.  Through several exercises it helps you to create a purposeful life by identifying your top 5 passions and aligning your life with them.

6. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – The Artist’s Way is a twelve week course which guides you through the process of recovering and unblocking your creativity.


7. How To Style Your Brand: Everything You Need to Know to Create a Distinctive Brand Identity by Fiona Humberstone – This book helps you to identify what you want your brand image to do for your business, plan your brand and turn those plans into a recognisable brand. 

8. Picture Perfect Social Media: A Handbook For Styling Perfect Photos for Posting, Blogging, and Sharing by Jennifer Young – If you are wanting to learn how to take better photos for your blog and social media, this book offers some very helpful advice. There is also a section on how to DIY some accessories like light reflectors and diffusers. 

9. Blogging For Creatives by Robin Houghton – If you are looking to start a blog or you’re new to blogging, this is a great guide which covers the absolute basics of blogging, and `what is a blog’, to how blogs work, blogging platforms, setting one up, creating content and promoting the blog. There are really useful case studies from other creative bloggers within each chapter.

10. 365 Blog Topic Ideas: For The Lifestyle Blogger Who Has Nothing to Write About by Dana Fox – It can be tough to come up with fresh ideas sometimes, so this a a great book to inspire you and get you out of a blogging rut. While aimed at lifestyle bloggers, the ideas can be related to any type of blog. 

11. Your Best Year 2016: Productivity Workbook and Creative Business Planner by Lisa Jacobs – This workbook is designed to help creative entrepreneurs set goals and prioritise in order to have a successful and organised businessIt includes an annual overview with objectives,  prompts and exercises, quarterly goal-setting, monthly overviews, monthly tasks and priorities, weekly overviews, weekly tasks and habit trackers.

12. The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul by Danielle Laporte – This book is book is full of inspirational ideas, helping you to connect your intentions with your goals and approach them from a different perspective. 

13. Shape Up Your Business: The founders of notonthehighstreet.com share their story in a 30-day success plan by Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker – Written by the two female entrepreneurs behind the hugely successful notonthehighstreet.com this is a great read if you are looking to improve your business, or thinking of starting one. 

14. Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba – Full of lessons and interviews with female entrepreneurs this is an inspiring and motivating read for women in business or in general.

15. #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso –  This candid and straight-talking guide to starting a business from scratch is a great read for ambitious women. Part memoir and part management guide, it is warm, funny and full of great advice. 

16. The Idea in You: How to Find It, Build It, and Change Your Life by Martin Amor – Full of great practical advice for the budding entrepreneur this book will help you form your idea and make it a reality. 

I’d love to hear any of your must read books for bloggers and creative entrepreneurs in the comments!

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Sneak Peak – New ‘Drifting Away’ Collection

New Drifting Away Collection Coming Soon | Gypsy Rova Shop

I’m currently busy getting ready to launch ‘Drifting Away’ – a collection of images captured on a road trip around the stunning New Zealand coastline a few years ago.

A selection of prints and products will be available to purchase here soon. Here’s a sneak peak in the meantime.

Enjoy!
PRIVATE PROPERTY-5

Drifting Away Collection | Gypsy Rova

Drifting Away Collection | Gypsy Rova

Drifting Away Collection | Gypsy Rova

2016 – Finding balance during loss.

2016 Finding balance during loss | Gypsy Rova Blog

‘Sometimes the things we can’t change end up changing us’.

2015 was a difficult year for me – a funny old year. Frustrating, stressful and often downright raw; it was a year that I was quite honestly glad to see the back of.

I started out the year full of optimism and hope – I had just launched my blog, completed two diploma courses, and by March I had secured a role in marketing – a career change I had been working towards for over a year. I was feeling more positive about the future than I had in recent years.

Unfortunately, with the loss of some close family members, health challenges and job losses it went downhill as the year went on and while not a ‘bad’ year it did have more than its share of sadness and trials. The year ended with a real blow, when we lost our beautiful mum after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease on New Years Eve.

Somewhere in amongst all of the sadness and bewilderment of the year goals had been long forgotten, my blog was all but abandoned, and I had completely neglected my health. I was feeling overwhelmed, lost and afraid of what lay ahead.

Its taken a couple of months and while I’m still grieving, I do feel like I will eventually come out the other side of it. It won’t happen overnight as they say – but it will happen. So I’m trying to be gentle with myself and give myself time, while also doing the things that I know make me feel more positive, energised and give me a general sense of well-being.

2016 Finding balance during loss | Gypsy Rova Blog

  1. Having a creative outlet – I always feel more inspired and connected when I take the time out to do something creative. Whether it be writing a new blog post, working on blog graphics, enjoying some photography or even spending time browsing Pinterest I am trying to put time aside each weekend for creative pursuits.
  2. Learning – gaining new skills that are valuable either in the workplace or for my blog always motivates me and gives me a sense of achievement. This year I’ve enrolled in an online Graphic Design Diploma, which focuses on the Adobe Creative Suite. I’m really looking forward to getting started!
  3. Eating well – I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed I have a tendency to comfort eat. I started off last year with such good intentions, but as soon as things started to get on top of me, old unhealthy habits crept back in. I’m trying to get back on the bandwagon this year and be organised with work lunches and healthy snacks to avoid the temptation to go for unhealthy convenience foods.
  4. Exercise – exercise is one of those things I have always struggled with. Once I get started I love it, but finding the motivation to start and stick to it is the battle! So I’m starting off gently with at least 30 minutes three times a week and I’ll work up from there.
  5. Reading – over recent years (probably since I discovered Netflix) I have read less and less. It is something I have really missed and have started to get back into this year. As a child, my mum would take me to the library at least once a week and this was what started my love of books. It was a shared passion and something that always makes me feel close to her.
  6. Having a bedtime routine – I generally find it difficult to get to sleep when I’m feeling stressed and have the tendency to lie awake and allow negative thoughts and worries to creep in. Finding time for quiet reflection and developing a bedtime routine which helps me wind down has really helped (more on this in a future post).

So here’s to a healthier, happier and all-round more positive year. I look forward to sharing it with you through the ups and the downs. 2016, I’m ready for you!

PRIVATE PROPERTY-52016 Finding balance during loss | Gypsy Rova Blog

Raw Banana Nut Energy Bites


Raw Banana Nut Energy Bites | Gypsy Rova Blog

 

 

If you read my post on setting aspirations for 2015, you’ll see that one of my goals is to eat better. I am trying to follow more of a plant-based diet and cut out a lot of empty calories. In general, I don’t have the biggest sweet tooth (that crown goes to my sister). It tends to be savouries that are my stumbling point when it comes to eating well. What I do tend to find is on the odd occasion when I get a craving for something sweet, it seems to be insatiable. No amount of chocolate seems to help, cake doesn’t scratch the surface and sweets are just a drop in the pan. So it became clear another approach was needed.

Through Pinterest and Instagram I have discovered an array of healthy options that I never knew existed. You can make ‘ice-cream’ from bananas and fruit – who knew? Chia puddings, overnight oats, and healthy brownies – the options are endless. Then I discovered raw ‘no-bake’ slices and bars and I was sold. What’s not to like? After experimenting with different recipes, and taking bits I liked from here and there I came up with this.

 

Raw Banana Nut Energy Bites | Gypsy Rova Blog

Raw Banana Nut Energy Bites | Gypsy Rova Blog


Raw Banana Nut Energy Bites | Gypsy Rova Blog

 

Raw Banana Nut Energy Bites | Gypsy Rova Blog

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Setting Aspirations in 2015

 

Setting Aspirations in 2015 | Gypsy Rova Blog

 

It’s that time of year again – the time when we set resolutions to be better, thinner, richer, get up earlier – the list goes on. January 1st comes and we have that renewed spring in our step – all the sins of the past have been washed away. We have turned over a new leaf and this will be the year we stick to it. Then somewhere around the middle of January our resolution starts to weaken – it’s generally on a busy Wednesday when you think ‘will it really hurt if I press snooze one more time?’ or ‘a pizza and wine after work won’t kill me – I will work out for twice as long tomorrow to make up for it’. From there it slowly goes downhill until February finally comes and that list is a distant memory. There’s always next year right?

So this year I have decided I will not make resolutions as such. Instead, I have a list of aspirations – things I want to gradually work at and improve on. What’s the difference? For me resolutions always feel very set in stone. If you mess up and miss the gym, or heaven forbid eat half of the McDonalds menu after a night out,  it feels almost as though you’ve failed and it’s time to throw in the towel. As the saying goes ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ – equally so, we are not going to wake up on January 1st with a complete personality transplant, so why put ourselves under such pressure? It is a process and as my brother recently said, many things are a lifelong battle, so lets be a bit gentler on ourselves and do the best we can day-to-day. We are after all only human.

“And suddenly you know … It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” Meister Eckhart

 

01. Get out of your comfort zone – I have found that since I’ve been settled in one place after years of living a rather transient lifestyle, I am less and less inclined to put myself out there and challenge myself. Comfort has wrapped me in its warm embrace and the world outside suddenly seems a bigger, scarier place. This is also something that naturally starts to happen as we age – our friends start to settle down and we don’t see them as often. Nights in on the weekend soon become the new norm – no longer are you out dancing around a circle of handbags with a bunch of complete strangers. Pyjamas and Netflix anyone? This year I am determined to get out more often and meet some new people. As an expat, for me the first step has been joining the local branch of Girl Gone International – a fun and friendly community for a new generation of women living abroad. What will your first step be?

02. Read more – In these days with the constant barrage of  ‘noise’ from social media, emails and movies on demand, it’s hard to find time to read. Or so I keep telling myself. I find myself going to bed and catching up on a show I missed on my iPad while simultaneously looking at Facebook, Instagram and emails on my phone. It’s really not the kind of restful activity that induces sleep. So this year I vow to unplug at bedtime and get back into the habit of picking up a book instead – even if it is on my kindle!

03. Take more photos – ‘More?’ I hear my husband saying. Anyone who knows me well, knows I click away a lot – even to the point of distraction when I’m travelling. I’m the girl that is too busy with her camera to her face to notice the sudden dip in the pavement or the odd unexpected step – who put that there? My trusty camera strap has saved my camera from many a near death experience. So what do I mean by ‘take more photos’?. I am great at taking hundreds of photos when I’m away somewhere new, but not so great day-to-day. I forget to look up, see things from a different angle and find the unexpected in the everyday. This year I will try find the beauty that is around me all of the time.

04. Eat better – I am one of those vegetarians that has fallen into the trap of replacing meat with far too much bread, pasta and cheese. The result has been low energy levels, little to no immunity and definitely no skinny jeans. I have tried diets before and failed miserably. I will be the first to admit I don’t have the strongest willpower in the world and when there is a cheese board calling my name, it certainly doesn’t have to call twice. So instead of dieting, I am trying to take a completely new approach to food. I am eating a much more plant-based diet with lots of green drinks, smoothies, salads, stir-frys, soups and grains. I also try to incorporate more protein to keep the cravings at bay and have stopped treating wine like one of my five a day (although in my defence it is made from grapes).

05. Move more – I have had a life long love-hate relationship with exercise. I hate the thought of it and really struggle to find the motivation to get started. What I love is the results and the added energy and feeling of well-being it gives me. So this year I don’t have any grand plans to take up hill-walking, run a half marathon or even join the gym. I simply want to increase my steps per day and do at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise  five times a week. I think even I can stick to that.

06. Learn something new – My mother has always said that learning keeps you young and I would have to say I strongly agree. Last year was a steep learning curve for me – I did courses in Online Marketing, Social Media Strategy and taught myself to muddle my way around WordPress. After years of not studying I’ll admit it wasn’t easy at first, but like anything the more you do it the easier it becomes. This year I want to become a Photoshop whizz and improve my photography skills. Whether it be studying towards a change in career, finally learning that language or taking salsa lessons, it will hopefully enrich your life and if nothing else, give you something to look back on and laugh about.

07. Don’t leave things until the last minute – This one is definitely very much a work in progress. I say this as I sit here and finalise my posts for tomorrows blog launch! I have always said I work better under pressure – that has been my excuse and I’ve clung to it. The reality is that it causes a lot of unnecessary stress and late nights spent cursing yourself. Time management is something I am great at in the workplace, but for some reason it doesn’t translate into my personal life. I am going to try and be more structured in my planning and stop setting myself up for nail biting pressure.

08. Remember to breathe – It sounds obvious right? If you’ve ever sat there at 5.00pm on a Friday with your desk still piled high you’ll probably know exactly what I mean. I find myself getting so tense that I sometimes give myself a headache. My shoulders end up in knots, my jaw is clenched and I can literally feel the stress bubbling up within me. At 3.00am, I find myself lying there worrying about things that need to be done, should be done or could have been done better. We all know the feeling. This year I am going to try and consciously take deep breaths and remember that the world isn’t going to end if I don’t respond to an email until the morning (or whatever similarly trivial scenario is keeping me awake).

What are your goals and aspirations for 2015? I’d love to hear so please share them in the comments!

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