Lifestyle | My 3 Summer Goals

I know what you're thinking: "Chloe, you're posting your summer goals now? It's nearly the middle of August". What can I say? Always late but worth the wait.

I'll be honest, I've had a rather chilled Summer so far but I don't actually feel guilty for it at all. I've had a rather challenging 2018 so far and really needed the chance to take some time out to relax and revive myself. I've been focusing on my mental health and wellbeing; something we all should be doing. So no, I haven't had the busiest Summer so far but I can say I've used my time in a valuable way, by putting myself first.

We have three or so weeks left of Summer so I've decided it's finally time to hang up my procrastination hat and get cracking on some of the things I want to accomplish before we wave goodbye to the leisurely warmer months.

1. Have A Clear Out
My room is a bit of a hot mess right now. I packed up my old flat and it's now in boxes and suitcases placed here there and everywhere in my bedroom and the rest of my family home. Not ideal. I've decided this is the perfect opportunity to have a sort out and get things back in order. Forget spring clean, we're doing a summer clean.

2. Get My DIY On
One month today I move into my new flat - wait for it - with my boyfriend. Moving in with a fella? That's proper adult territory. Student budgets mean we've only nabbed a studio flat but I'm determined to make the space as homely as possible. There's so many beautiful homeware pieces out there which would spruce the place up but I  decided to do it on the cheap and craft my way to a gorgeous new home. So far I've been reviving some old frames from charity shops but I have lots of other projects planned. Is this something you'd like to see on Yours, Chloe? Let me know.

3. Keep Up The Blogging Game
I've been a bit pants at this blogging malarkey recently as I chose to take a bit of a digital detox and focus on having some 'me time' rather than spending all my days writing blog post after blog post. Over the past couple of days I've been planing and drafting lots of new post ideas which I can't wait to share. I'm also off away later in the week which will pave the way for lots of photography opportunities; watch this space.

Have you set any goals for the latter half of the Summer?
Are you following Yours, Chloe on Bloglovin? You can find me here.

Books | 5 Books To Be Absorbed By This Summer

Summer is that time of year where every woman and her cat become avid book worms. You see it every summer, Instagram upon Instagram of people lazing on beaches with their nose in a book and in some cases you can't help but find yourself muttering that famous Draco Malfoy line "I didn't know you could read". 

There's something about this season that just draws people to books. In part I think it's because the holiday time that comes in the summer months gives us the opportunity to actually tackle the to-read pile that has been building at the side of our bed for the past twelve months. The chill relaxing nature of the summer months also create the perfect environment for getting cosy with a good read. The days are longer and it's warm enough for sitting in the garden with a glass of vino and a piece of fiction. Absolute bliss, if you ask me.

I've definitely put my book-worm cap on this summer and have been delving into a number of fantastic reads already. Today I wanted to share with you 5 of the books I've been absolutely loving; hopefully one or two at least will make it on your to-read list.

1. Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin
"There are two sides... to every summer."

Rules of Summer introduces us to Rory McShane, a teenage girl who is about to spend her summer working as an errand-girl for your stereotypical wealthy American family, the Rule family. Whilst the concept may seem rather tedious, the novel is surprisingly engrossing. The story has a duel narrative, flitting between the lives of Rory and Isabelle (the youngest Rule). It explores their friendship and also the budding romance between Rory and the swoon-worthy Connor Rule, Isabelle's elder brother.

As well as being an aww-worthy love story, the kick-ass female friendship (despite the class-divide) really triumphs the romance. It's the perfect easy beach read and truly makes for a lovely summertime escape.

2. Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher
"Love makes life worth living, not money."

Billy and Me has been a permanent addition to my summer reading list every year since the incredible Giovanna Fletcher made her writing debut in 2016. The book follows Sophie, a young girl living a perfectly normal life in the country, who falls for Billy, a super famous actor who wants to make it to the top. The story shows the ups and downs of their relationship, and explores how Sophie copes being thrown into the limelight.

This is an absolute cracker of a chick lit novel. It's got so much charm to it and is honestly one of the most beautiful and heartwarming love stories I've ever heard.

3. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
"Life doesn't have to be so planned. Just roll with it and let it happen."

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

This novel is such a little gem in the YA novel department; it is one of my all time favourite YA novels. Despite its romantic core it also features the important themes of family, culture and identity, creating an inviting innovative read. Jenny Han writes in a gorgeous fashion that leaves you feeling as if you were actually inside the head of the protagonist, leaving you hooked to the story and desperate for the tales of Lara Jean Covey to be endless. 

4. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
"These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections – sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at a great cost, but often magnificent – that happened after I was gone."

The Lovely Bones tells the story of Susie Salmon, a young girl who at the start of the book is tragically murdered and then narrates the story from her own personal Heaven as she looks down at the world and people she has left behind. It shares poignant snapshots into the lives of people haunted by the loss of their daughter, sister and friend. The story also provides a unique insight into the perpetrator of this heinous offense.

This may not be the most lighthearted summer read but boy is it incredible. As soon as I read the first page of this novel I was hooked. I found Sebold's portrayal of the concept of Heaven absolutely fascinating and I believe it is this element of the story which makes it so memorable. If you've seen the film I'd definitely recommend also reading the book, it adds a whole new dimension to the story.

5. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
"But here's the truth: In movies, it's never half so lovely as it is here and now with Jase."

My Life Next Door shares the love story of Samantha and Jase, next door neighbours with vastly different backgrounds and family lives. They first meet when Jase climbs up to her rooftop perch and from there romance blossoms. We follow their story as they stumble through the awkward yet amazing territory of first love.

This novel is another one of my favourite novels of all time. It's one of those stories that makes you feel all gooey in the middle; like your tummy is now made of caramel. I challenge any girl to read this novel and not fall head over heels in love with Jase. He's funny, sweet, caring, good with kids and just so damn lovable it hurts. My Life Next Door tastefully explores some of the more 'mature' themes surrounding first love and this really adds to just how beautiful the story is. It's honestly a little piece of magic stuffed into 400-odd pages and truly makes the perfect summer read.

What are you reading this Summer? I'd love to hear your recommendations.

Lifestyle | Four July Highlights

I can't bloomin' believe we're already on August's doorstep.

I've made a mental note to write monthly roundup posts a little more regularly. They give you a real insight into the real person behind the blog, showing that not everything is glam and photo-perfect. Whilst I've made a conscious effort to try to never put up that false pretense on my blog or social media accounts in anyway, these posts still provide a lovely insight into my life and who I am as a person.

Let's have a look back at the month that was...

Blogging Come Back
This month I popped my blogging hat on again and published my first posts since March. The hiatus was caused by a level of unease I had about blogging and my identity within the blogging community. I took the time to consider whether or not there truly is a place for lifestyle blogging within the blogging community. Whilst there have been a number of hugely successful lifestyle bloggers, the blogs which are really smashing it at the moment are largely beauty and fashion themed. I was torn between the two juxtaposing ideas of ultimately which kind of posts make a successful blogger and the style of blogging that truly holds my heart. But after a period of reflection I've realised that blogging success comes from passionate writing and an enthusiastic online presence, so as long as you're passionate about the topic you're writing about - whether it be lifestyle, beauty, books, fashion or otherwise, the world is your oyster. 

Solo Adventuring
July played host to my first solo adventure around Lincoln, visiting the castle and exploring its shopping delights. Although it was merely a day trip, for someone who battles anxiety daily it was a big deal. I picked a city I had visited plenty of times but an area and attraction that was new. The air of familiarity that came from previous trips definitely helped me to feel at ease and I had a truly lovely day. My inner history geek was well and truly out when I ventured around the castle and its Victorian prison, and the scenic views from the top of the castle wall were truly mesmerising. I'm so excited to embark on more solo adventures around the UK soon. If you have any location recommendations I'd love to hear them. 

Family Times
Summer would't be a summer without the odd family get-together thrown in, would it? My extended family lives here, there and everywhere so getting absolutely everybody in the same place is an occasion that only happens once or twice a year, but it's jolly lovely when it does. It was a day of family, food, frolics and an alcohol beverage or two. The perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday. 

End of First Year
July marked the end of my first year of uni, and I was absolutely blessed to discover I had finished the year with a first overall. The beginning of my university experience was a tricky one on all accounts but despite everything I managed to complete it and have a really solid start to my teacher training. Despite its ups and downs, I do have some lovely memories from my first year and am very excited to begin my second year in October and to see what the rest of my uni experience can offer me.

What was your highlight of the month of July?
Are you following Yours, Chloe on Bloglovin? You can find me here.

Thoughts | Twenty Things I've Learnt In Twenty Years

The past couple of years have been ones of personal growth and discovery. In the first two years of my adult life I've become pretty wisdomous (to quote the legend that is Joey Tribbiani) so I thought it would be a jolly good idea to share twenty of the life lessons I've learnt in my first two decades of life.

1. You can't control everything in life and that's ok.
We can't control other people or outside events, we can only control how we react to those things.

2. Wear whatever the hell you want.
It's easy to get stuck in the idea of 'this is on trend, this is what everyone else is wearing so I should do the same' but that is quite honestly crap. Your fashion style is part of your identity; it tells the world who you are and you don't want to imply that you're the same as everyone else. This is the same for things that are 'too short' or 'not flattering'; you like it, you wear it.

3. Invest in experiences rather than things.
Memories are more valuable than material items.

4. Always listen to your intuition.
Listen to that little voice inside of you; you're gut feeling, it'll tell you which path to follow.

5. Quality over Quantity.
Whilst this can be applied to most things in life, especially belongings,it should also be applied in regards to friends. It is more important to have a group of close friends who you will know will always have your back than hundreds of friends who don't really know much more about you than your name.

6. Jealousy is a natural emotion to feel, but use it positively.
Jealousy is a natural emotion to feel; we've all experienced it at some point in our lives. But this Tinkerbell-like trait won't really get you anywhere if you let it take you over. Instead we should consider what it is that's causing this envy and use it in a positive way; to make a positive change to our life.

7. Ask your parents/grandparents about themselves and their youth.
Not only is it important to hear their stories whilst they're still here to tell them, it can also help you to learn about not only them but also yourself. You will develop an understanding of where you get certain character traits or likes/dislikes from; it's truly fascinating how little things are passed down through generations.

8. You do not need to apologise for taking 'me time'. 
Self-care is essential.

9. So much joy can be found in sitting in a coffee shop alone.
Oh boy is it daunting at first but it's so so worth it. Since moving to Sheffield I've made the effort to take a trip to my local coffee shop once every two weeks or so with a book in hand. It was only when I was there that I realised just how many people sit in coffee shops alone. This is the perfect opportunity for a bit of me-time, and the perfect chance for some interrupted nose-in-book time. Bliss.

10. Be curious.
Curiosity creates opportunities for exploration; opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of life.

11. It's important to strike a balance between saving and experiencing. 
There's no point spending all of your younger years stressing about money. Be financially-conscious, of course, but don't let money worries stop you from enjoying life.

12. Live in the moment.
Don't spend your life waiting for Friday, for the summer, for the future; focus on right here right now and make the most of life.

13. You are much stronger than you think you are.
Although it may not always feel like it, you're strong and you will get through whatever life throws at you. Consider how many days you've gone through which you thought you were not strong enough to survive or bounce back from; you have and that shows your strength.

14. Don't compare yourself to others.
The only person worth comparing yourself to is the person you were yesterday.

15. It's ok to not follow the same timeline as everyone else, or the timeline that society sets. 
Create your own path through the world. Don't let society, or specific people, tell you when you should reach significant life milestones, follow the path you want to.

16. Don't be afraid to try new foods or give previously-disliked foods another go.
Taste-buds change as you get older. If you live life staying away from foods you didn't like a while ago, or are scared to try for the first time, you may be missing out on some wonderful cuisines. 

17. Get rid of the negative people in your life.
Anyone that brings you down does not deserve to be in your life so wave goodbye and don't be sorry.  

18. The opinions of strangers or people you barely know don't matter. 
Don't get stressed at the prospect of people judging you, if anything they probably haven't even noticed.

19. Take lots of photos.
Remember to document life's adventures so you can look back and reminisce in the years to come.

20. Be kind.
"Be kind wherever possible. It is always possible" - Dalai Lama

What is the most important life lesson you've learnt so far?

Are you following Yours, Chloe on Bloglovin? You can find me here.

Thoughts | On Finding Confidence In Front Of The Camera

Body confidence has never been my forte; far from it. I've always been much more at home behind the camera than in front of it;

This is something I regret if truth be told. Photo albums from family holidays during my teenage years can give the impression I never made it on the plane and I wish I did have all of my wonderful holiday memories in photographic form. 

Blogging has also highlighted my lack of confidence in front of the lens. A significant part of blogging is upholding a solid profile on social media, especially on the likes of Instagram, and it's been well proven that the key to a successful following is flooding your feed with flat-lays and 'candid' photos of you exploring the world. That's easier said than done when your self esteem is below parr.

But this Summer I've set myself a challenge: I want every other photo on my Instagram feed to be a photo of me.

When setting myself this challenge I knew it wouldn't be a walk in the park. It's early days still but so far so good, I haven't stressed over clicking publish half as much as I expected to. There is a number of things I've done to boost my confidence in posting portraits on my Instagram which have all contributed in their own little way and today I wanted to share them with you.

One thing that has helped massively with this is getting the right editing routine going on my phone. I've found a number of apps which have found a special place in my heart and each make all the difference to photos. I'm making an effort to not over-edit any of my photos though, as that will have the opposite affect on my self-confidence to what I am aiming for. I simply brighten the photo and add a small hint of a filter when needed. I'm tempted to write a post on how I edit photos to help those who are as clueless about editing as I was before now!

I've also started taking photos at times when I'm most relaxed. I love taking my camera out with me when I take my dogs for a walk so I can snap photos of the scenery and of them, with the option for photos to be taken of me should the timing be right. Having 'blog photoshoots' as spur of the moment things that just seem right in the moment makes them much more chilled; there's not that pressure to get perfect photos as you're just taking them in opportune moments whilst you go about your daily life. It is when you're at your happiest and most relaxed that you can be your true confident self and this shows in the photos that are taken.

Another thing that can help to boost your confidence in front of the camera is getting to know your body and which your 'best side' is. I love shots where I'm playing with my hair, or looking to the side of the shot. I also love candid photos of me with my dogs or just off for a stroll. Now that I have discovered a preference for these kind of shots, they are my go-to during photo shoots and I feel automatically feel more confident in doing them.

I also don't add the confidence-barrier of shooting photos in busy spaces. As I said, I like to take photos when on a walk where there's pretty open spaces and lovely scenery. These places tend to be pretty quiet which helps me to not stress about other people seeing me being all posey. The similar summery natural backdrops have also helped me to begin to build a theme on my Instagram, which gets me extra blogger points.

I'm going to keep writing posts reflecting on my progress towards becoming Instagram-confident. As I said, I've got a long way to go until I can be one of those girls who flounce about the streets of London snapping posey photos like it's nobodies business, but every little step is one step closer.

How to you find the confidence to pose for Instagram photos?

Are you following Yours, Chloe on Bloglovin? You can find me here.