January – Something New

Explore the year with goals, stories and something you’ve never done before.

Want to tell the story about the first time you performed on stage? We’d love to hear. Planning to join the gym but have some new starter jitters? Try it out for a week and document the week in writing. Did something big happen on your first week of school? Write a flashback story and take us through your journey.

As part of the Beatfreeks blogging challenge I am using their monthly themes to try and start writing on my blog on a regular basis.

In my (belated) January post “Something New” I am taking a glance at my year in goals. (The blog post is late.. but all my goals were established at the start of the year).

For anyone that knows me in person will know that I am big on lists, big on planning and that I love the bullet journal system.

With inspiration from Kala at BohoBerry I took on her #Level10Life concept, a new way to set my  goals for 2017. The system includes setting 10 goals in 10 areas of your life.

I won’t be sharing all of them but here are the 10 areas that I set my goals in (different from Kalas original 10) and a few goals / new things I’m particularly excited about working towards and trying.

  1. Family
  2. Personal Development
  • 3 new qualifications
  • Start listening to podcasts instead of music in the car – any suggestions welcome!
  • Start blog and post regularly
  • Improve public speaking
  • Read 2 books per month (I love reading but finding the time and motivation is so tricky sometimes!)
  1. University
  • Attend 100% of lectures
  • Minimum of 2:1 in all work
  • Achieve a 1st in dissertation
  1. Rugby
  • Be in a good place physically and mentally before starting pre-season
  • Have a solid pre-season
  • Captain Loughborough University 1XV
  • Be the strongest and fittest I’ve ever been
  • Enjoy playing again
  1. Health and Fitness
  • Drink 2L of water a day
  • Plan meals better
  • Minimum of 10000 steps per day
  • Stop biting my nails
  1. Career
  1. Giving and Contribution
  • #Change500Challenge – set myself the challenge this year of positively affecting or changing 500 different people’s lives
  • Next Christmas I am going to spend time, not money. I want to volunteer to help those in need over the festive period.
  1. Finances
  2. Fun and Recreation
  • Take myself on a date once a month. Explore. Visit somewhere new.
  • Read 50 books
  • Take a random weekend road trip with no destination in mind
  1. Physical Environment
  • Don’t collect stuff… declutter the flat on a regular basis!
  • Keep and maintain a healthy study space

I am active on twitter and facebook and love to share things that I find interesting and inspiring. So far I really feel like I haven’t kept my promise to myself that when I started this page that I would write and post regularly.

So as part of my “Do Something New” post inspired by Beatfreeks, I am going to commit to posting a minimum of once a month! Let’s see how this goes!



Currently Reading: Shtum by Jem Lester

Here is a list of what is currently sat on my bookshelf waiting to be read!

I’m trying to read more but I keep buying/receiving new books which is just making my list longer and longer!

I am a nightmare for starting books and reading several at the same time, a habit I’m trying to change!

At the start of half term I attempted to colour coordinate my bookshelf (before and after below), I’m not sure if I’m completely satisfied with it, so if anyone has any tips or a better way of how they organise theirs, I’d love to hear!


Reading List: started (s), finished (f)


  • Ross Kemp – Gangs
  • Prisonomics
  • Lock Down
  • I Am Not A Gangster
  • Coaching Behind Bars
  • Talking With Serial Killers
  • The Worlds 20 Worst Crimes
  • Inside Alcatraz – My Time On The Rock
  • Life In Strangeways

Creative Writing

  • Milk And Honey (f)


  • Freedom Writers Diary (f)
  • Free The Children
  • Their Name Is Today

Feminism / Women’s Rights

  • Kicking Off (s)
  • Everyday Sexism (s)
  • Bad Feminist Essays
  • Fat Is A Feminist Issue
  • The Whole Woman
  • Naomi Wolf The Beauty Myth
  • Why Girls Cant Throw


  • The Story Of O (f)
  • Holes (f)
  • Small Steps (f)
  • Missing Abby (f)
  • A Game Of Thrones (s)
  • Me Before You (s)
  • Me After You
  • The Hobbit
  • The Maze Runner
  • The Scorch Trials
  • The Death Cure
  • Missing Abby
  • The Girl On The Train
  • One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (s)

Self Development

  • The Good Psychopaths Guide To Success
  • How To Be Calm
  • How To Be Mindful
  • Mrs Moneypennys Careers Advice For Ambitious Women (s)
  • Big Magic
  • Calm
  • The Secrets Of Success; The Encyclopaedia
  • Teach Reflect Doodle


  • Relentless (s)
  • Night Games (f)
  • Engaged (f)
  • The Scrum That Changed My Life
  • 11 Rings
  • Legacy – 15 Lessons In Leadership – What The All Blacks Can Teach Us About The Business Of Life
  • The Sports Gene
  • Why We Run
  • Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance
  • Fox catcher
  • The Secret Life Of Twickenham
  • Rhonda Rousey – My Fight/Your Fight
  • Michael Phelps – No Limits
  • Survivor: Fatima Whitbread
  • Lewis Hamilton; The Biography
  • Michael Phelps – Beneath The Surface
  • Jonny Wilkinson An Autobiography
  • Fox Tossing, Octopus Wrestling And Other Forgotten Sports
  • Muhammad Ali – The Soul Of A Butterfly
  • The Final Whistle The Great War In 15 Players
  • You Not Shoot, We Not Shoot

True Stories

  • The Diary Of  A Young Girl: Anne Frank (s)
  • Sully – Mirical On The Hudson
  • Just Kids
  • I Am Malala


Monthly INSPO

So I have been thinking for the last couple of weeks about what I wanted my next post to be – I say that as if I have been writing on a regular basis… this will only be post number three (17Before2017 and 2016Review) and somehow it is already February?! I started writing this post in January… oops.

As much as I haven’t been writing much I have been thinking and planning a lot whilst being caught up in every day life. I have been debating a lot of different ideas… started some and not finished a lot… but I just haven’t got into the habit of writing on a regular basis YET #GrowthMindset

It has been a busy first month back at school with City Year and at Uprising, the nine-month leadership development programme and social action project I work on.

On my first session back at Uprising there were three very inspirational guest speakers there to pass on their wisdom; Khakan Qureshi from Birmingham South Asians LGBT , Alyah Hasinah, Herstory LIVE (what an incredible woman!) and Tony Bhajam, Beatfreeks.

After hearing from Tony at Beatfreeks about a new project they are running I took a look at their website, it is an organisation I have heard a lot about, but never really looked into myself… oh how I should have!

One of Beatfreeks current and ongoing projects is the journey of blogging. Writers are presented with a different theme each month and are invited to write about their experiences and discuss various issues.


January – Do Something New

February – Injustices

March – Political Opinions

April – Emotions

May – Wellbeing

June – Advice

July – Celebrating Cultures

August – Free

Guidance for January;

“explore the year with goals, stories and something you’ve never done before”

So with in mind… I will shortly be posting my first (belated) #BeatfreeksInspired blog post: January – Something New.

I am starting something new. I am, starting from now, posting on this blog on a regular basis. No matter how small or trivial the topic may be… if I write it, I am going to post it!




2016 Review

After being inspired by Karla over at Boho Berry I have been reflecting over the last couple of days and have decided to do a review of my year.

What are the main things I’ve done / achieved this year?

  • Was assigned my first case with the Youth Offending Service
  • Completed my first cycle (1 year) of mentoring with TwentyTwenty
  • Sold my first car and bought my first brand new one!
  • Quit my job (lifeguarding / swimming teaching) and started working security
  • Started and played 80 minutes of every single game of the 2015/16 season for Loughborough University and Loughborough Town
  • Nominated for CVA awards
  • Played in the BUCS Premiership quarter finals for Loughborough Uni
  • Organised a Naked Calendar for charity
  • Spent a week with the RFU at Twickenham
  • Helped organise the Spirit Of Rugby Loughborough Launch Festival
  • Got my SIA license
  • Played County Rugby
  • Won the “players player” awards at Loughborough Town end of season dinner
  • Coached Rugby in Malawi and met some bloody amazing people and kids!
  • Also travelled to: South Africa, Zambia and Morocco
  • Moved to Birmingham
  • Started my year of full time voluntary service with City Year UK (incredible charity, incredible people!)
  • Changed teams and started playing for Lichfield #RedAndGreenFamily
  • Played in a fixture against Scotland
  • Achieved level 2 rugby coaching accreditation
  • Applied and was accepted onto the Uprising Leadership Programme
  • Started a bullet journal
  • Signed and put a deposit down for my own flat in 2017


What am I most proud of this year?

  • The progress I have made with my mentoring, especially one of the girls from TwentyTwenty
  • The positive effect I am having on my kids at school whilst volunteering with City Year (I imagine this is what it feels like to be a proud parent)

What could have been better this year?

  • I didn’t focus enough and wasn’t disciplined enough studying for my degree which resulted in me being disappointed with my results for my second year
  • Financial planning – especially when fundraising for Malawi

Favourite moments from the year?

  • Winning a sevens tournament on my birthday and celebrating with the Loughborough team
  • Seeing how happy sports made everyone in Malawi (not just the kids!)
  • Red Jacket Ceremony with City Year
  • My sister introducing me to Bullet Journaling

What can I do to build on my success for next year?

  • Continue to set, pursue and review my goals
  • Stay focused and be disciplined – especially upon returning to Uni in September!
  • Always ask questions and pick the brains of interesting people I meet!
  • Take every opportunity




As mentioned on my home page #17Before2017 was my latest entry in my bullet journal (post soon to come on what this is, what I use it for and how it’s changed my life!). This  so I thought I’d share my 17 before 2017 as my first blog post!

1) Finish six books:

I am a nightmare for starting several books at the same time, something I’m going to try and change in the New Year. The six books I currently have on the go but want to finish before 2017 are:

  • The Freedom Writers Diary
  • The Story Of O
  • Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance
  • Legacy: What The All Blacks Can Teach Us About The Business Of Life
  • Game Of Thrones
  • Everyday Sexism

Book reviews will be up as soon as I finish these!

2) Spring clean the flat and my room at home – COMPLETE!

This is half complete since I cleaned my before coming home for Christmas. My room at home is full of stuff that I haven’t sorted out for years.

UPDATE – Since being home for Christmas I have completely cleared out my bedroom, it’s looking so much better having sorted all my things! All the things I was getting rid of I either donated to a charity shop or a recycling bank!

3) Donate unused things to a charity shop – COMPLETE!

I have a very good habit of keeping things for the sake of it, even when I no longer use them. I have a load of left over sports kit that I didn’t have space in my luggage to take to Malawi with me in the summer. Once I’ve started sorting things out I’m going to donate it all to a charity shop.

4) Meet up with three school friends

5) Visit my dad and step mum on their anniversary – COMPLETE!

6) Start playing piano again – COMPLETE!

So far I have started learning Stay With Me by Sam Smith and Hallelujah

7)  Visit my Nanny Daltons grave – COMPLETE!

I can’t remember the last time I went so this is something that’s really important for me to do before the year is out.

8) Visit my Grandad in hospital again & give him his Christmas presents! – COMPLETE!

I’ve visited my granddad a couple of times since being home, but I gave him his Christmas presents today, he was on much better form and we chatted for a while before he fell back asleep, it was a really lovely visit.

9) Spend some time with my Godmother – COMPLETE!

She has limited mobility and when I can, I go visit her, although these visits usually tend to be brief, I’d like to spend an afternoon with her playing board games or watching films!

10) Go for a long walk with my mum and Louis – COMPLETE!

We went for a lovely long walk on Christmas day!

11) Plan a day out with the family

12) Start writing a blog – COMLETE! (ish)

Well… here I am, not sure if this counts or not!

13) Write my goals for 2017

14) Start new bujo for 2017 – COMPLETE!

Blog post about this soon to come!

15) Do something kind for a stranger

16) Write budget for 2017

17) Watch six documentaries

  • Can you live without your phone?
  • Breaking into prison
  • NYPD: biggest gang in New York?
  • Sex, drugs & murder: life in the Red Light Zone (Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3 )
  • Muslims like us (2 episodes)
  • Black is the new black  (4 episodes)
  • Jade: why I chose porn
  • Stacey on the Frontline: Girls, guns and ISIS
  • Making a slave (Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3)
  • Prison my parents and me