Winter Fashion ft. Burton






Fashion is something that still seems a little bit foreign and exciting to me, especially considering that I spent most of my younger years growing up in the same hoodies, skinny jeans and those 'go to' old, tatty pair of trainers that have seen better days. I have found that experimenting with different clothing is so much fun and provides the perfect excuse to purchase new clothes and get dressed up, even when you don't have any specific occasions to attend!

I was absolutely delighted when I was approached by Burton, who were kind enough to send me over their new Trench coat, along with a few other items to style it with. I have always wanted to purchase a trench coat but never really imagined that it would suit myself, as I usually stay well within my comfort zone when it comes to styling clothes. But, combined with the elegance of a roll neck jumper and leather gloves, this outfit left me feeling smart, sleek and more James Bond than Blogger James.

I find that trench coats are so versatile, really complimenting both formal and casual attire. The added belt really helps create a streamlined look, while also being lightweight and shower proof for wear in any weather condition. Button right up to the top for an elegant and tidy finish, or add an extra layer to your normal outfit with a more smart casual unbuttoned look (ngl I mainly like this one because it feels like I'm wearing a cape when the wind is blowing). Usually, I am terrified to go anywhere near anything remotely light coloured with clothing as I am an absolute nightmare when it comes to spilling things down myself, but I am so glad that I did because the stone colour of the trench coat contrasts so well with the blacks and greys within the rest of the outfit and allows me to move away from the temptation of monochromes, helping to stand out from the crowd and add a little colour during the winter months.

The upper half of the look is completed with a grey roll neck jumper, providing warmth and simplicity without all of the faffing around involved with a scarf and black leather gloves which I highly recommend getting as they keep your hands much more toasty warm and comfortable than any regular wool gloves. The bottom half is finished off with some skinny black jeans (surprise, surprise!) and a stylish pair of Chelsea boots which I love so much that they definitely deserve their own blog post!

Black skinny jeans - Primark


Like the look? Purchase a trench coat from Burton here!

King of the Castle







Sometimes we get so caught up in the ever evolving era of technology and modern ways of living that we forget to take time out to go back and visit our roots, finding out just what our ancestors got up to all those years ago. I am so fortunate to live in such a contrasting city when it comes to integrating modern living with the historic architecture of the past. Lincoln castle was built by William the conqueror in hundreds of years ago in the 11th century and just stepping inside the grounds is like being transported into a different time era. It's actually hard to believe that the castle would once have housed a king and would have been bustling with life inside of the walls.

After spending a few moments admiring the picturesque backdrop, we decided to take a walk along the old and incredibly photogenic castle walls, something that I actually quite enjoyed considering that I am absolutely terrified of heights and it was pretty darn windy (typical Lincolnshire weather unfortunately), but it was totally worth it for such breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding cathedral, city and countryside. The peacefulness and serenity really helps you to forget about the stresses of life for a few moments and indulge in the feeling of being on top of the world.

I absolutely love history and finding out more about the world around us. I actually see myself as part of this lucky generation who were born early enough to experience the simplicity of life before the sudden technology boom but late enough to see all of the wonderful benefits of modernisation and technology in the 21st century, although I do always secretly wish that smart people would hurry up and invent a time machine so that I could go back and see what life was like before I was born. Whether you are interested in finding out more about the past, or just want a picturesque backdrop for photographs, then I definitely recommend visiting Lincoln!



Twenty One






As you may or may not know I happened to hit the ripe old age of 21 a few days ago. Oh how time seems to fly by.. I have been roaming around on this earth for 21 whole years, something that seems so surreal to say considering that it only feels like yesterday I was celebrating my 16th birthday. I can confirm that being 21 doesn't really feel drastically different from being 20 other than the fact I can legally adopt a child, become a pilot and enjoy a gambling trip to Vegas (one for the bucket list), but a 21st birthday is considered as quite a momentous milestone in England, usually signifying the daunting but exciting beginning to adult life, even though (believe it or not) I have obviously been doing plenty of independent *grown-up* like things for a while now, especially since starting university a year ago.

The 20's seem to have become this period of discovery in life for finding one's self, the time to truly uncover who you are now and what you want to become in the future while you are still young and relatively free from responsibilities. Like many other young adults I personally have no idea what I want to do with my life, it feels so daunting to think about committing yourself to this future pathway which will determine careers, finances, relationships and ultimately your happiness. As a young adult the world is your oyster, you are not obligated to stick to the same pathway, change is always possible. I believe that we were all put onto this earth to follow our own personal dreams and aspirations, no matter what age you happen to be when you finally set your heart on one particular thing.

Naturally there have been many ups and downs throughout the years but I truly feel like I have learnt so many life lessons from my younger years, growing enormously both in confidence and maturity to become the person that I am today. As you grow older you start to realise that certain aspects of life are all about quality over quantity, I feel like I am actually starting to surround myself with people in my life who really matter, I am so lucky to have such a supportive and loving family, motivating and caring friends and to be part of such an inspiring blogging community, a hobby that I didn't expect to find so much enjoyment and comfort in when I first started a couple of years ago. One of the best things about having a blog is being able to share certain milestones and achievements within life and look back every now and again to reminisce in all of the memories that you have collected over the years.

I actually quite like the person that I am right now, which is definitely not something I would have been able to say a few years ago. Obviously there is still so much more growing up and learning to do. This is only the beginning of a great journey, I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for me, hopefully the best is yet to come!

Confidence


Self-confidence is defined as a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities and judgement. 

I often find myself in this constant and frustrating battle with my mind when it comes to portraying a sense of confidence in social situations and maintaining a certain level of self-belief in myself as a person. It's a difficult feeling to describe, almost like you desperately want to throw yourself into social situations, try new things and conquer new challenges in life but you're being held back in your comfort zone by these doubts about self worth and ability.

I always try to have this positive mentality when it comes to life, to use other people's success and amazing talents as a form of motivation to inspire and better myself as a person, but despite this I find that sometimes I see others achieve things that I see as far beyond anything that I could ever muster up and I begin to lose confidence in my own ability. I have always been a perfectionist at everything that I attempt in life, and all of my fellow perfectionists out there will know that it can sometimes make everything seem so hopelessly tedious and frustrating, especially when you can't help but compare yourself to other people. Seeing someone do, create, have or achieve something far superior to what I believe that I can really intimidates me, whether it happens to be blogging or life related.

Another struggle that I have in life, and have been too ashamed to admit for far too long, is that this real anxiety when it comes to social situations, especially when feeling overly tired and stressed (which happens to be a lot when you're a student), and I feel like this constantly holds me back when it comes to both blogging and life in general. I sometimes feel like I put on this appearance of fake confidence when it comes to approaching strangers, getting along with people and social situations but I lack this self confidence when it comes to my personality, image, and overthinking the way that I portray myself which leads to me constantly declining exciting and probably enjoyable opportunities, even ones related to blogging, on a daily basis because of this tiny fear at the back of my mind of being judged or embarrassing myself, which can also become super frustrating. I always joke that I could literally write a long book on 'how to be awkward in social situations' using all of the experience that I have but sadly it is true, and I always get it into my head that this will decrease my likeability as a person and a blogger. I tend to shy away from most social situations where possible and live life well within my comfort zone which can become a real lonely way to exist if you let it overcome you. I do suffer from the same fear of missing out as other people but just lack the conviction and confidence to do anything about it because of this little anxiety at the back of my mind, holding me back from getting the most out of life... and I want that to change.

*takes a deep breath*

...and now to the positive section of the blog post.

I want to make a commitment to myself.. well several commitments actually. It may seem like such easy promises to make to yourself for some people but I see it as little achievable goals to accomplish one baby step at a time, in order to take control of my life and making myself a much happier person in the process.
1. I am determined to stop worrying so much about what other people think and trying to seek this external validation from others to determine my self worth as a person. In fact, to stop worrying so much in general. I waste so much of my life thinking about the repercussions of my actions and the things that could go wrong in situations in the future which haven't even happened yet, rather than just taking a step back and actually enjoying living in the moment. I have slowly begun to realise that the most important thing in life is the ability to achieve happiness. As long as you are genuinely happy and content with everything in your life, no matter how big or how small, then who really cares about anybody else's opinion.

2. I will overcome my anxiety towards social situations and actively try to become more social and outgoing, even if it means gradually easing myself into it because practice makes perfect right? At the end of the day, nobody is perfect and most of the time everyone has enough insecurities about themselves to worry too much about any of yours. It's sounds so cliché but I am a strong believer of just being yourself and like-minded people will gravitate towards you.

3. It is my goal to try and find the positives, even in the most negative of situations. Every failure or mistake is an invaluable lesson learnt and everything in life happens for a reason. Just because the past didn't turn out how you wanted, doesn't mean that your future cant be better than you ever imagined.
4. I will challenge myself to become more outgoing, say yes to a lot more opportunities and start experiencing more of the wonders of life while I'm still young and free from those pesky little commitments that come along as you begin to grow older. Life doesn't have to be taken so seriously all of the time, they say that those unexpected and spontaneous experiences are always the best and most of the time, when you take a chance and leave your comfort zone, you will end up thanking yourself for it later.


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Super Scrumptious Summer Smoothie



I think that I have gone a little smoothie mad. I have become obsessed with trying out new combinations and finding that perfect balance between looks, taste and healthiness to get more fruity goodness into my diet! Today I'm coming at you with another of my favourite smoothie recipes for you to try out and enjoy for yourself, because it really is too good not to share. This smoothie contains absolutely perfect ingredients to provide you with the most delicious and tasty refreshment on a hot, summer day, while also maintaining a super healthy kick.


Green tea powder is super healthy but it also manages to turn everything into a slightly greenish brown coloured concoction, resulting in something that may not seem much in terms of aesthetics, but is totally a sacrifice worth making for such a genuinely amazing tasting drink, packed full of antioxidants. Plus, everything green automatically means more healthy right?! I would even put it out there that it is probably the best tasting smoothie I have ever made, and I have made a few!

There are only 6 simple ingredients needed to create this smoothie:
- Pineapple
- Apple      
- Spinach   
- Strawberries
- Blueberries
- Matcha Green Tea Powder

Strawberries are not only for accompanying avid tennis watchers during Wimbledon season, they are pretty much the fruity symbol of British summer, not to mention delicious, while pineapple really adds a delightful tropical twist. Spinach forms a large part of my diet, so I am always looking to sneak it in to different recipes in different ways in order to add a little excitement into the same old ingredients. This dark leafy green provides a tonne of protein, iron and minerals which are important for healthy skin, hair and bones! I would really recommend introducing some of these summery ingredients to the realms of your freezer or adding ice before blending to provide you with an incredibly satisfying, extra slushy, cooling texture, perfect for that warm summer evening! (warning: will most probably result in brain freeze).


I usually drink smoothies as a healthy snack to keep away all of those pesky food cravings which never seem let me have a moments rest (damn you fast metabolism!) and have recently been accompanying them with nakd bars, which have become like my new addiction. If you have never had a nakd bar before, they are a range of healthy gluten free snack bars made from natural ingredients, pressed together rather than being baked. A lot of healthy snacks seem to taste rather earthy, bland or raw which is why it is so nice to find a genuinely great tasting and guilt free alternative.They come in a variety of unique little flavours, my personal favourite being the cocoa crunch (although bakewell tart does come in at a close second), the perfect substitute for a chocolate bar and packed full of protein for post gym nutrients.Together, this is a combination that provides you with a low calorie and healthy but completely scrumptious snack alternative!






James 


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My Smartest Student Storage Tips


As many of you will know, I am in fact a student, a self-confessed messy and disorganised one at that. I can usually be found buried under a mound of mess which makes it so hard to concentrate and focus on simple tasks such as revision and blogging. To help this, I have teamed up with Storage King to come up with and research some neat little storage tips, something that actually really tested my imagination and creativity, and share them with you guys to help us all achieve a more organised and stress free life.

Penny For Your Thoughts

Ever needed a creative storage idea for all of that money that you probably don’t have, to satisfy that wanderlust with travel, for drinks on that next student night out or just to save for the future? Well whatever little adventure that you have in mind, here is a simple solution for you. There are literally a plethora of things that you can do with an old jar, the least of which is store all of that loose change, to save it getting pinched off of the side by those pesky penny grabbers (every penny counts when you’re a student)! It is so tempting to fall into the ‘oh it’s only small change, I may as well just spend it’ trap, but after a while the small change all adds up. Make sure that you have a target or goal in mind and a specific place to keep all of those extra pound coins, even a simple jar will do, to get into the saving frame of mind rather than impulse buying and burning a deep hole in your pocket!


The Solution Is Tape

I first saw this brilliant idea on Pinterest, the fountain of all creative knowledge and wisdom, and just had to steal it for myself. Self-adhesive magnetic tape has so many uses, my favourite of which is to store all those little manscaping tools that always seem to go missing from the bathroom cabinet. I have also been informed by my sister that it is great for keeping track of those weird hair clip things that I always seem to find lying around the house.


Hanging Around

I feel like my shoe collection has been steadily growing out of control and before long I will be drowning in a sea of trainers and high-tops. I don't really have a whole lot of storage space at university, so my shoes tend to be left pretty much wherever they fall off of my feet and safe to say that I have tripped over a few times (a lot), so a solution was well needed. That’s when I stumbled upon the idea of modifying hangers to store your shoes, which has saved me a whole lot of space and my knees a whole lot of pain. This is such a simple but effective idea (If I, the least creative person in the world, can do this then so can you) and you can let your imaginative mind run wild and decorate the hangers with whatever you like to give them a theme more suited to your personal taste. Just cut the hanger in the middle, bend round the sides like in the photo, decorate and hang on those shoes, simples!



Sit Back And Recharge Those Batteries

I think it will always be one of life’s little mysteries as to why wires such as headphones and phone chargers are forever becoming tangled up, no matter how hard that you try to avoid the inevitable. I suffer from the ‘my phone charger always falls out, leading to my phone alarm not going off and oversleeping’ dilemma, which was so easily solved after a little tumblr surfing, using a few binder clips.  Binder clips are so cheap, you can usually find them laying around the place in offices and schools (yay, free!) and they are also perfect for creating you very own charger station so you never have to untangle those troublesome wires again.


Protect Yo Bling

I am forever losing jewellery, probably due to those pesky jewellery goblins who always seem to move it around from where you leave it (that’s what I tell myself anyway). This is easily solved with this unique little ‘bird bath’ jewellery holder purchased from BHS a while ago, which is the perfect way to store your necklaces, earrings or rings in a neat and stylish manner. I have seen many different designs and animal combinations on this concept and it looks great sitting on the side, also making it the ideal birthday or Christmas gift!



The Power Of Magnets

In a student kitchen you’re more than likely going to be living with untidy people (or you are one yourself), so it is pretty easy to become overwhelmed with mess and find yourself lacking space, especially considering you will undoubtedly have about a million of every piece of kitchen equipment possible! When you find that you have metallic cutting utensils coming out of your ears, cluttering up the cutlery draws and creating an overall dangerous and disorderly mess in the kitchen, I highly recommend investing in a magnetic knife rack to store some of that clutter and impress everyone with your nifty organisation skills.


Think Smart, Think Ahead

I drink a hell’a lot of smoothies these days, so actually thinking ahead and pre-making them is something that saves me a lot of time and effort on a daily basis. Sometimes buying fruit, chopping and preparing, as well as blending it down into a tasty pulp can be quite time consuming, especially if you live a super busy lifestyle. I find it really helps to have a handy little jar or container to store a few servings in advance for a quick and easy way to satisfy your fruity cravings.



The Kings Of Storage

If you are in need of a simple, safe and easy access storage solution for your personal, business or even student belongings then Storage King could be super helpful for you. Nobody likes dragging every little bit of luggage to and from university every term, running out of stock in your shop because you have nowhere to store it or lugging everything round nan's house while you redecorate the house. Storage King offer flexible storage space, from large lockers to storerooms in order to suit your individual needs and solve all of your storage problems. You can find their website here!

Phew, after using every ounce of my creative ability, I'm hoping that these little space saving tips and tricks help to to become more oragnised, let me know if you have any nifty storage ideas which make your life a whole lot easier!


James 


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Life In A Nutshell



It's been far too long. I feel like I haven't had a chance to catch up with myself recently, to allow myself to freely express the feelings and thoughts going through my mind, while also sharing little snippets of my life with my blog, which also happens to be one of my favourite things to write about. So this is it, this is my life lately, grab a cup of tea, pack of biscuits and settle down into some place comfortable.

I finished my first year of university. It feels like the year of the fresher has absolutely flown by, until I think back and remember just how much I have achieved in the short space of 9 months. Attending university begins as a huge change, you suddenly find yourself in this foreign city, surrounded by strangers and with this new found responsibility and independence to actually survive on your own. The saying that you never quite realise how lucky you until you lose something that you take for granted until it's gone has never been more true when you take into consideration all of the washing, cooking and cleaning that you now have to juggle along with studying, exercising and socialising. Things can seem a little daunting, but the independence that you gain from this experience will help you huge amounts to further yourself in life. I have come out the other side with a First class grade, better cooking skills, the actual ability to iron, professional moaning about coursework skills and a really close bunch of friends as well as some amazing experiences and memories that I can hopefully extend upon going into my second year.

Work Work Work. Since finishing university I have gone back to my little part time job working as a waiter at a little country hotel nearby to where I live. Although I think it is perceived as an 'easy' job, I think a lot of people can underestimate how difficult being a waiter can be sometimes, especially due to the physical as well as mental challenges of the job (being on your feet all day is exhausting)! Also having to employ 'the customer is always right' even though 99% of the time the customer is most definitely not right, can become rather tedious. On the positive side, I feel like this job has given me the self confidence and ability to properly speak to new people, without feeling shy or reserved, purely down to the practice and throwing myself into that awkward situation of making conversation with someone that I will probably never see again, so it doesn't matter if I happen to mess up! 

I'm learning to drive. Finally, after 20 years of existence as a human, I actually had my first driving lesson today and you'll be happy to know that it went so much better than I expected. I try and go into each new challenge or experience in life with an open, positive frame of mind and find that it really helps me to learn new things quickly and have the confidence to push myself where others may hesitate. We started off going through some of the basics within the car such as adjusting the seat and getting used to which button or pedal performed which function before setting off. The gears are quite hard to get used to to begin with (such as not accidentally changing into forth instead of second and stalling) but with a bit of practice, you eventually get the hang of it. I actually picked it up so quickly that we decided to try the main road, junctions and even a roundabout it my first lesson (roundabouts are a lot less terrifying than they may seem, trust me) which I was honestly quite proud of myself for. Watch out world, you'll be seeing a lot more of me on the road in the future!

I have been saying yes to a lot more opportunities recently. I do, like so many other people out there, suffer from this FOMO (fear of missing out) but it is usually overwhelmed by a lack of self confidence that stops me from trying new things or seeing new places as often as I would like to for fear of leaving the safety of my comfort zone. Recently, I have been trying to push myself out of this little shell that I have constructed around myself and see more of the world around me, experience things that I never would have considered before, while constantly reminding myself that life doesn't go on forever, however much we may want it to, and that I will regret later those opportunities that I turned down while I am young and free with less commitments holding me down. I have lots of plans to travel and I really hope that I am able to attend some form of blogger event in the near future which, although waaay out of my comfort zone, will allow me to meet loads of new and like-minded people!

I have become addicted to Marvel: Agents of Shield. I have recently become a TV series junkie, plowing through episode after episode of each series and finishing them within a few days to the point where I have to start rationing myself episodes so that I don't finish them too quickly and get sad. It all started with The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, both of which satisfied my love for horror, before moving on to Game of Thrones and now Marvel: Agents of Shield. I am self a self-confessed superhero and more specifically marvel geek, pretty much being able to quote each film, own posters and even have a collection of marvel socks *hangs head in geeky shame* so finding out that there was more of the marvel universe to sink my teeth into brought me endless amounts of happiness. I highly recommend all of these TV series, but watch at your own risk, addiction is pretty much guaranteed!

I hope that you are all enjoying the beginning of summer, I have lots of exciting blog projects coming up, but always love to go back to reading and writing these personal, informal and relatable little update type posts.


James 


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Space - Dream, Imagine, Wonder



Every little kid seems to want to grow up to be an influential world leader, famous celebrity, renown Pokémon master or even a power ranger, but when I was younger it was my absolute dream to become an astronaut, to embark on my own space missions and undertake a voyage of the stars, becoming the Christopher Columbus of space and discovering new worlds, alien races and find answers to those age old questions that have pondered the minds of some of the greatest thinkers in history, still remaining unanswered to this day. I think that it is within the human nature to have a burning fascination with the unknown, spending our lives craving and gaining knowledge, learning about the world and universe around us and bettering the mind in the most incredible ways.

As a kid I would use my imagination to build spaceships out of cardboard boxes and make space helmets out of plastic bags (which in hindsight probably wasn't the best idea) and I still love reading space novels about the future and science fiction movies, both of which allow me to escape the reality of every day life and live this childhood dream of exploring space, even just for a fraction of time. I hope that I live long enough to witness at least the beginning of space exploration and the abyss beyond, I was even a little tempted to apply for the controversial and highly unlikely 'Mars mission' not so long ago, which may seem like such a ridiculous idea because who wants to throw themselves into a one way mission to a barren red rock in the sky, taking 2 years inside a tiny spacecraft, and putting yourself millions of miles away from civilization, breathable air and your loved ones? I think this leads back to the indescribable burning feeling of wanderlust and the need for adventure and exploration deep within myself combined with the thrill of danger and the unknown. I think it would be incredible to make history as the first adventurer of space, being the first human being to set foot on another planet, maybe even the first of many in the future.. You would be required to start a whole new life, create a whole new civilization, plant crops, experiment, explore and pave the way for space exploration in the future.


By this point I think that it is fairly safe to say that I have a little fascination for space. I sometimes look up at the sky and wonder what is actually out there. Are we alone? Is there somebody else out there millions of miles away on another planet looking up at the same sky and pondering the same question? I still get that feeling of young and captivating joy when thinking about how absolutely incredible it is that every single little glowing orb carpeting the night sky is in fact it's own huge gas giant of a star, billions of light years away. Every single one of these unique stars has an important place in the universe and contains it's own little complex solar system, surrounded by huge masses of space rock that we like to call planets, consisting of all shapes, sizes and chemical make ups. Now that is a lot of planets, sitting there, waiting to be discovered and explored. I am one of those people that does believe that there must be some form of life out there in the vast universe other than ourselves, if it has managed to happen once, against all odds, then surely it has the potential to occur again in the same perfect conditions right?! It may not be intelligent life with complex ecosystems, an economical system or even basic knowledge of the universe, but simple organisms is exactly where we began too all those millions of years ago here on planet Earth.



The two things that make me the most sad is that my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut will most most probably never come true and even the human race as a whole will not explore space for many more years to come, perhaps never venturing beyond our own solar system.. at least for the long foreseeable future, due to physical restraints on technology and the relatively short human life span compared to how long it would take to travel millions of miles across the universe. Until then, I guess I will just have to make do with looking up at the sky and dreaming up my own theories of what the dark realms of space beyond our little atmosphere is like. Sometimes finding out the truth doesn't live up to our high expectations, so maybe it is better that way, leaving the imagination to run wild.




How To Become More Confident



A lack of confidence is something that pretty much everyone has struggled with at some point in their life, young or old. I have experienced what it feels like to have absolutely zero confidence as I used to be the most socially awkward person possible, mostly due to me having no self confidence in myself and retreating into my own little shell. I would tend to avoid confrontation with people unless it was absolutely necessary and prefer my own company over that of others. This lead me to ultimately be lonely and feel rather depressed, not to mention all the opportunities I missed out on as I would just turn down amazing life experiences all the time, not because I didn't want to try new things or go out. I wanted to more than anything. I just felt trapped, like I couldn't. There was one particular day where I was struck by a sort of enlightenment moment and it really hit me hard to think that life is too short to keep missing out on these opportunities to enjoy myself and that I wasn't making the most of life as it was flying by. I was determined to become more socially active and to improve my confidence and nothing was going to stop me. The little secret is that absolutely anybody has the ability to be forward and confident, you just have to find it within yourself, and I spent a lot of time researching the best methods to be confident and feel generally more happy and I really want to share this to help as many people as possible to find themselves, and realise that you can love life without self-confidence holding you back.


LOOKING CONFIDENT


One of the main causes of people lacking confidence is not being happy with your appearance or the way you look, leading to an overwhelming feeling of self-consciousness. There are some simple tips that can make you feel a little better about yourself and therefore improve how confident you feel.

Dress for confidence
You may think that this is so simple, but you would be surprised how much of a difference wearing your favourite, comfortable clothes can have on your mood and having confidence to speak to people. Ideally, you should choose clothes that make you feel confident and portray your personality, instead of wearing the clothes that other people wear just to fit in.

Positive posture
It has been proven that your posture is always one of the first things that someone will notice about you. Sometimes faking confidence can lead to you getting used to the feeling and naturally becoming naturally more confident as a result. Keeping your head up and shoulders back, while walking along with a sense of purpose will help you to look like a confident person on the outside and feel like one on the inside, trust me.

Eye contact
Possibly the most important indication of how confident somebody is, you can instantly tell someone is comfortable talking to you if they maintain constant eye contact during conversation. This is something that I really struggled with, being shy and reserved I would often look at the floor or off in the distance when talking to people, even my family. Start easy by trying to make eye contact with people and just smiling, then moving onto trying to encourage yourself to look people in the eye during conversation as much as possible and eventually it will come naturally. Chances are the other person is just as shy as you are about eye contact!

THINKING CONFIDENT


From experience, I know that a lack of confidence can leave you feeling down, isolated from everyone else and alone. It is important to know that no matter how bad things seem, they will always get better, you are not the only one and you are most definitely never alone.

Think about the obstacles that are in your way, stopping you from feeling confident and write them down. The majority of the time these obstacles will be false little assumptions that you have made about yourself. Don't let those assumptions determine your self-worth and keep you from enjoying life. I know it is so much easier said than done, but maintaining an open mind and finding positives within life will help you to feel an enormous amount better about yourself.

Just remember that you are not the only one that struggles with self-confidence, pretty much everyone does or has done, some people just hide it better than others. Most people will be too preoccupied with their own image to worry about judging you on yours. Stop comparing yourself to other people and be yourself. People are going to like you more for being your original (complete weirdo) self than trying to be like someone else. Nobody is perfect, we all just have to learn to love our flaws and appreciate that they make you who you are.

BEING MORE CONFIDENT                                     


Talk to strangers
This is something that has improved my confidence an amazing amount. It’s great because IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU MESS UP. Chances are you're not going to see that person again so there's no pressure, it’s like practice for when you start a conversation with someone you actually want to talk to. Start off easy again with something like eye contact with a smile, building up to a polite 'hello' or 'good morning' and finally into a full conversation.

Breathe
Sometimes putting yourself out there will get a little overwhelming, making a situation impossibly awkward and uncomfortable. Remember to BREATH. Stepping back and taking a few deep breaths will help to calm the mind and remind you that you are in control of your body and the situation.

Leave your comfort zone
One of the most effective methods of improving your confidence is throwing yourself right into the deep end and taking risks by leaving your comfort zone. Having a job where I have to speak to customers every day has allowed me to break out of my shell and forced me to get used to speaking to people. Experiences like talking in front of a large audience may seem daunting, and chances are you will mess up somewhere (even the most experienced of public speakers do), but you will feel so good about yourself afterwards. I've always been taught that its not your ability to succeed that matters, it’s your ability to fail and pick yourself back up again.
                                                    
The honest truth is that there is not really a secret formula to guaranteed instant confidence, it's not just something that happens overnight and it takes a lot of effort, patience and practice, but trust me, it's completely possible and you will get there eventually. Whatever happens keep at it, don’t give up and believe in yourself.

I am always here for anybody that needs advice, reassurance about a situation, a confidence boost or even just someone to talk to, don’t be afraid to send me an email at james_bickle@hotmail.co.uk


James 



Achieving Your Dreams



It can be very tempting to believe somebody that convinces you that you can't achieve your dreams. For some people it may feel like there is a person or past memory that is holding them back from happiness in their future, I think it is so important that when somebody tells you that you cant achieve something that you are passionate about in life, you use that as a form of motivation and determination to prove them wrong. Don't hold out for the approval of others and let it determine your happiness or self worth as a person, life gets a lot more easy when you let go of all of those little worries about what other people are thinking about you and start doing more things that make you genuinely happy. If you want to go out and adventure at 2am then you do that, if you want to wear different clothes to everyone else then you wear them with pride, if you have a passion, talent or image that isn't generally accepted as the 'social norm' then who cares as long as you're happy. I admire anybody that is able and self confident enough to step up and be their own person and stand out from the crowd, to portray the passion, creativity and motivation to achieve whatever they want in life, despite what anybody else thinks.


'There are far far better things ahead than anything that we leave behind'

Everybody has a concious or subconscious habit of comparing little things about themselves to other people, myself included. When comparing yourself to other people, remember that people are usually rewarded in public for something that they have practised for years in private. Some people say not to compare your beginning to somebody else's end, but I think this can be a positive thing to do. Don't let it get you down that you're not as good as them or as naturally talented at this moment in time, use their success as motivation and inspiration to further better your own talents, say to yourself that 'I will get to their level, I will better them, I can do it'. Success is all about positivity, having that belief in yourself and the will power to spend every little bit of energy on this dream until you achieve it. You have to improve your mind set within before you start to see positive effects on the outside, overcome those negative thoughts and defeatist attitude, don't give up before you have even started and become a 'no matter what person', do whatever it takes to achieve happiness and success within life.


'Be confident. Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing that we were something that we aren't. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses and it is only when you accept everything that you are - and aren't - that you will truly succeed'

We have this wonderful freedom in life to create our own destinies and choose a path on which to follow on this little journey of existence, but still people tend to feel trapped in the same old routine day after day. I know it can be easier said than done but there is nothing stopping you spontaneously travelling and experiencing more of the world, eradicating negative people from your life and surrounding yourself with people that bring out the best in you instead. Stop worrying so much about things that are beyond your control, especially the past and focus your mind and energy on the positive difference that you can make on the future, the things that you can feel grateful for and embrace every positive little thing about yourself. We sometimes get so caught up in the destination that we forget to enjoy the journey, especially the wonderful experiences and goodness of the people that we meet along the way, appreciate every day in life, every single one of them made you into the awesome person that you are today.


'Failure is simply an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently'


There is a saying that 'people are held back by their fear of failure', they would rather set a minimal goal and achieve it than aim as high as possible, learning more and achieving greater things but with the higher risk of failure. What these people tend not to realise is that the key to success is learning from these failures and allowing them to better you as a person. Failure is not a loss, it's a significant gain that allows you to learn, change and grow. Everybody is bound to fail at some point in their lives, it's the people who get back up again, determined to succeed who make the difference. Set higher goals for yourself and dream big, find a better sense of purpose in this world, constantly strive to learn and better yourself and most importantly believe in yourself, even when nobody else believes in you.


Always remember that today is another fresh start, another chance to move closer to your dreams and goals, believe in yourself and you can do it. 




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