My Top 10 Songs of 2018

If you followed this blog at the start of the year, you may remember that I attempted the “song a day” challenge for 2018- where I chose a song that reflected each day/ my mood or was just something I had been loving listening to!

I managed to keep it rolling until about August, when wedding planning and moving jobs and other factors meant I just couldn’t muster the energy! But since it’s coming to the end of the year, I thought it might be fun to pick the top songs that meant the most to me this year. Enjoy!

10. It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You): The 1975

One of my all-time favourite bands, a fucking beautiful new album and my top song off that? I have no more reasons, but I bloody love this one.

9. Back To You: Selena Gomez

I really loved the Netflix seasons of “Thirteen Reasons Why” (yeah I’m aware they’re mildly problematic and controversial but that’s a post for another day) – and this song that was released with it fast became one of my most listened to songs this year! It’s the perfect song to blast in the shower.

8. I Like It: Cardi B

No song made me feel as sassy as this did this year, I swear to god.

7. Havana: Camila Cabello

Did any other song make your hips want to wiggle as much as this?? I’ve had this on repeat since it was released last year tbh. It’s one of the perfect songs when you’re getting ready for a night out as well!

6. God is a woman: Ariana Grande

I don’t know any other girl who didn’t listen to this and absolutely love it. This year has been the year of Ariana, and I am here for it. Perfect song and even better video to go with it.

5. Rewrite The Stars: Zac Efron and Zendaya

It’s mad that it was only this year that ‘The Greatest Showman’ came out to be honest… I feel like I’ve been obsessed with it my whole life! I think this is still and will always be my favourite song from it (as I basically cry every-time I listen to it) Plus, we loved the music so much we used an instrumental for our wedding!

I’ll always think of that day when I hear the first few notes of this song!

4. Nothing Breaks Like A Heart: Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson

This one is a super new edition to my favourites of the year! I’ve always LOVED a bit of Miley and this song is so so damn catchy. I’ve had it blasting in my ears every day on my commute, since it got released!

3. Shotgun: George Ezra

If a song was ever the embodiment of summer, it’s this! I loved his new album and I actually saw him live for the first time this year. Such a feel good, happy and fab song to remind me of this year.

2. Shallow: Lady Gaga

I’ve loved Gaga for SO long now, but when ‘A Star is Born’ came out this year, I swear I fell in love with her all over again. That movie was one of my highlights of the year (top movies post coming soon!) and this song was so incredibly beautiful and powerful. A definite highlight!

1. You and Me: Lifehouse

Although this song came out in 2005, it’s definitely managed to become my most significant song for this year, for one simple reason. This is the song that me and Luke chose as our first dance on the wedding day. Forever will hold a place as one of my favourite and most special songs of this year!

What were your favourite songs of the year?

Rach

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My 2019 Resolutions

If you know me or read my blog, you’ll know that I am the kind of person who is incredibly driven by goals and having clear- cut milestones that I’m aiming towards. I find that giving myself direction and a plan, usually means that I progress further in achieving the things that I really want.

So I thought I’d take a look back at how I did in 2018 – and share what my 2019 resolutions are going to be!

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So, from looking at this list – I managed to tick off a few things! I managed to plan and have the wedding, I read 37/50 books (not bad!), I joined a choir, I made a lot of effort to reconnect with people and see them – and I did a lot more painting and drawing in 2018 than I have previously.

However, there are a few things on there that just didn’t get sorted OR I’ve completely changed in priority and no longer even want to do!

For 2019, I’ve decided to carry a couple of these things over (second time’s a charm eh?) and also add a few new things to my list!

As it stands I’ve not put anything career focused on this list at all, as I’m supremely happy at this moment in time with where I am and what I’m doing. However, there are a few things that I think would really make 2019 another amazing year – so without further ado, these are my 2019 resolutions:

Cut down on Diet Coke

Um yeah, so it went really well doing that in 2018… I can’t help that I’m so addicted to this! I have actually managed to quit it for a year before, so I know I can do it again. I feel like giving up is a little drastic though, so I’m going to try and make it a weekend-only treat. Fingers crossed!

Go to the gym three times a week

Again, this one is far more realistic than the ‘exercise daily’ goal that I had last year! I do about 9000 steps a day anyway, just in going about my life – but I really want to throw some more high-intensity exercise into the mix. Plus, I’ve stopped going rock-climbing and doing yoga as much, so this is a good way to get back into those.

Pay off and cut up my credit card

Ugh, a demon that I need to throw off my shoulders! I’ve been pretty good at saving money the last year, but the wedding + the cat’s surgery + Christmas = an abused card. I really want to get this cleared off and away from my sight!

Read 50 books

In the three years that I’ve had this on my to-do list, I’ve not managed to do it yet! However, I think the high number of 50 always helps to motivate me and get me reading tons of books as soon as I can! I love to read and it’s something that will always be on my goals list as a target!

Drink more water

I used to drink tons of water, but when you’re as busy and hectic as we are at work – it kind of slips off my radar slightly, and I realise I haven’t had anything except a coffee at 11:30! My skin, nails, hair and health need it, so I’m really going to try and keep a reusable water bottle on my desk at all times!

Buy a house?

I say this with a ? as I’m not 100% sure we know where we want to live yet. I know that we’ve got a few ideas, but obviously I don’t want to settle somewhere we’re unhappy, just for the sake of getting a place. I’ll put this as a maybe for now!

Have you got any resolutions?

Rach

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How was 2018 for me?

Although it might be a little early to write my yearly wrap-up post, time has become such a valuable resource to me lately.

I’ve been rubbish at writing on this blog as work has been so hectic, and since I’m in the mood and sat snuggled in bed (with a sick bug sadly!), I thought I should make the most of having a moment to write it all down and actually take a look at the year I’ve had.

So, 2018 eh? That went quick!

In some ways, this will be one of those years that I will absolutely never forget. I travelled to amazing places, I married the love of my life, I began a job at a place that I ADORE – but it wasn’t without its challenges.

We moved out of our house and back in with Luke’s mum, we lost our darling kitten Buzz and I certainly had more than one career meltdown this year (as you shall see…)

So here’s how 2018 went for me:

January

I kicked off my New Year at one of our friend’s houses, playing board games, drinking prosecco and generally just enjoying a really chilled one with Luke and his friends. I’ve never been the biggest fan of New Year’s Eve (it’s overrated) so I’m hoping to do something similar this year and keep it relaxed!

The first few weeks in January were pretty uneventful, with the need to get back to work, the gym and also I was doing amazingly at writing this blog at that point!

A few weeks into 2018 however, I bundled myself into my little car and drove myself all the way to the Cotswold’s for my friend Tashaa’s 25th birthday!

I’m still wishing that I could start January with another little spa-break because this was SO needed after the busiest Christmas ever. It was such a great start to the year to be out of the busy city and away with all my best girls – plus, you can’t go wrong with a massage and a 4-course dinner being brought to you eh?

I also tried snails for the first time that weekend (I was trying to be adventurous for the new year!) and it was honestly the biggest regret of my life. DO NOT EAT THEM THEY ARE VILE.

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February

Feb was filled with friends, fun and a hella lot of time spent exploring London. I went to an event hosted by Grace Victory at LUSH (and met her! They always say don’t meet your idols, but she was just as fab and amazing in real life!) – I spent a lot of time snuggled up with Luke and the cats, and this was also the month that I started to fall out of love with my job that I’d been at for nearly 2-years.

I knew that moment had been bound to arrive eventually, but a manager was beginning to make my working life unbearable, so Feb was also the month that I began my job hunt for a change of scene and a PR job. (It only took another month or two to realise I hate working in PR lmao – but you gotta try these things I guess)

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March

In March I handed in my notice – and started the final countdown until I picked up with a new agency in Chesham (only a 10-minute drive from our house)

I did my final live event with Formative (my previous agency) in Berlin and live-tweeted at an annual energy conference (oh the fun never stops eh?) – however, I did meet Professor Yuval Harari, which was very exciting for an absolute book nerd like myself.

Luke and I spent some time in Windsor together, exploring the city – and we also dared to test the bounds of our relationship and played a lot of monopoly in the colder weeks!

March was the last of the snow in England, but I definitely made the most of being tucked up in the warm!

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April

In April, my family and I had a million and one different plans. We took a trip to Centre Parcs, we went to Ronnie Scott’s and we had the Beauty and the Beast afternoon tea in Kensington. Plus, I ticked off a live concert for the first time this year as I saw George Ezra with my work wife… (he was ASTOUNDINGLY good)

After that though, April turned into the worst month EVER. After a smashingly wonderful start to the year, there aren’t a whole lot of pictures of this month – as it was the month that we realised our little baby Buzz cat was actually a whole lot more unwell than we had anticipated.

After his energy levels continued to drop and he became more sad and fatigued, we found out that his kidneys were failing – and we would need to cover him for surgery that cost upwards of 6,000 pounds.

I also started at my new job (on the day we found out about Buzz) so it meant the transition away from everything familiar, the career move, the fact the cat was so unwell and also the financial strain of his vet bills, meant that this month was a lot more mentally challenging than any I’ve had in a long time.

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May

In May I turned 24!! (EEEK when did I get so much older?!) We started really buckling down on the wedding planning, and Buzz came home from the hospital! I went to Brighton for an SEO conference with my new job, and Luke and I took a trip to Henley (didn’t realise we’d done so much exploring around Buckinghamshire this year) and drank A LOT of ciders in the sunshine.

We watched Eurovision with friends (except I got so drunk I fell asleep and missed most of it) and I also seemed to invest a lot of time and energy into Star Wars related things, as we went to see Solo in Notting Hill and we also did the VR Star Wars experience in Stratford. I would 100% recommend this one, it was absolutely phenomenal.

The only slight downside to the start of summer was the new job that I’d started. I had almost immediately realised that this job was going to be a poor fit for me, plus I really didn’t like PR as it turned out (being awkward on the phone is defo a downside to this career hah!) – so it meant that I was feeling slightly misplaced and unsettled there.

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June

In June we made the most of the English heatwave and Luke and I went on so many walks in the fields behind our house, I’ve actually lost count of how many photos I have of that!

I spent a lot of time with my family and took my parents to their first escape room experience. We didn’t get out in time, but only because my dad got claustrophobic and we had to sound the emergency alarm lmao…

I also went to my first opera with my aunt, uncle and grandma – which was actually pretty good (for how dull I thought it might be!) and I filled most of my working weeks with trying to teach myself as much as possible, and praying that the job would get somewhat better!

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July

In July a load of our friends seemed to get engaged, so I ended up drinking prosecco at parties nearly every bloody weekend!

July was also the month that I made two big life changes. Firstly, I went vegan – which meant that I spent a lot of time reading the back of packages and cooking bizarre and disastrous meals in our kitchen! The other big decision was that I had decided enough was enough with my job.

I had really given it a shot, spoken to many people about it and decided that it just wasn’t the career path for me. I missed working in social media, so I spent most of my evenings after work frantically applying to as many places as possible.

At the end of July, a miracle happened and I was emailed and invited for an interview at Cancer Research UK!!!

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August

In August I started the job of my dreams at CRUK as a social media officer, and almost immediately after starting, I headed up to Edinburgh with my best girls to check out the Fringe festival.

We basically spent the few days we were there eating, drinking and cramming in as many shows as we possibly could (some better than others ha!)

I’d never been to Scotland before, but since my bestie’s family is Scottish she was able to show us around and make sure we got a taste of everything we could.

I came back from Edinburgh with the worst case of fringe flu, however, so spent the next few days dying in bed. Dramatic? Me? Nah…

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September

In September my bridesmaids had arranged a tropically themed hen-party! My uni friends, my sixth form friends and all the other people in-between showed up, and we had the best time at my parent’s house playing stupid games, drinking and dancing and doing quizzes all about me ha! Followed by an adventure into London and a club-night out that I lasted approx an hour into!

I also saw Hamilton in the West-End (best show EVER) and ended up singing along to it for the entirety of the rest of the month.

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October

October was the saddest and hardest month of my this year, and definitely included one of the worst days of my life. After Buzz’s surgery, he had seemed to pick up a bit, but he began to decline again soon afterwards. We had to make the most difficult decision of our lives, but it wasn’t fair to keep putting him through pain and sadness just because we wanted to keep him, so Luke and I sat with him as he went to sleep. It was horrible, painful and I cried so much I thought my chest was going to explode – but with Luke’s support we made it through. It’s still going to be the thing that puts a downer on this year for me – but I still feel so lucky that we got the time that we did with that little boy! He was truly the most fantastic little guy you could have ever met!

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November

In November, in stark contrast to October, I had the best day of my entire life. It was the day that we’d been planning and building up to for over a year – our wedding day!

I’ve written a little blog post here if you want more detailed info about the day – but it was honestly so SO wonderful.

Following the wedding, we flew off to Thailand for 11 nights for our honeymoon. It was such a fantastic adventure with my favourite person in the world – and I honestly couldn’t have wished for a better month.

We chilled out, ate amazing food, fed elephants, went snorkelling… and so so much more! Definitely a place for everyone’s travel bucket list!

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December

And now here we are! As Christmas is just around the corner, I’m starting to become chockablock with deadlines, office parties, seeing family and friends and generally filling my year with as much as I can! I ADORE and love my new job more than words can explain, and I’m loving having a husband and being married even more!

December has been a fun one, aside from getting horrendously sick this week – so, I guess with that it’s time to start looking forward to a brand new year with 2019!

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I’m hoping for a bit more of a stable one next year (perhaps I’ll actually stick with one job!) –  but knowing Luke and myself far too well, I’m sure it will turn into one of those years where we end up moving cities (potentially happening eeek), taking some mad holidays and perhaps even more exciting plans that I’ll keep secret for now.

See ya soon for my 2019 resolutions post!

Rach

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The Wedding Day…

On the 10th November 2018, I married the love of my life.

The day itself was such an incredibly special and perfect memory, that I was a little bit cautious when it came to sharing the pictures, videos and moments of the day online – however, I thought I’d share a tiny little snapshot of our special day – so you can get an idea of the kind of wedding that we had, and why it was just perfect for us!

The night before the wedding I headed to the hotel early with my family, to get set up in the bridal suite and sort all the dresses out, plus any final bits and bobs for the actual day! (The story of our disaster at getting to the venue is definitely one for another blog post)

When we were finally there, we set up the cake, table plan and all the little bits that my mum and I had put together.

To save money on little things, my mum had made the cake and all the table decorations herself, and I had done all of the table place-cards, sweet table and seating plan! Although it was definitely a bit more homemade looking, I don’t think it ended up looking bad at all!

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This also involved laying out all of the dresses, to iron out any creases and making sure that they all looked perfect for the big day! We got all of the dresses below from David’s Bridal (an American chain, which is incredibly good value for the quality!)

I always wanted my bridesmaids to feel comfortable and happy in what they wore, so I chose the colour of the dress and then let them each pick their own favourite dress style. Luckily for my ‘wanting everything to match’ personality, they ended up picking with near identical ones!

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On the day… 

I’m not massively keen on having my makeup done for me, as I like it a particular way – but I thought since it was a special day, I would hire a makeup artist and hairdresser to come and beautify my bridesmaids and me!

We went super-natural on the makeup, with Charlotte Tilbury foundation and contour, Benefit on my eyes, MAC on my lips and Too-Faced mascara, (and probably a bunch of other products that the makeup artist used to tweak and perfect things!)

For my hair, I had never wanted it all pulled back (I have a very round face okay!?) – so decided to go for half-up and half-down. All my bridesmaids had their hair curled and in a similar style, which I thought looked so lovely. It’s so un-me to go too OTT on makeup or hair, so I felt really pretty and understated like this.

My bridesmaids and flower girl (Luke’s niece) all piled into the room on the morning of, and we took it in turns to be pampered, guzzle down prosecco and each of them had to chill me out at various points throughout the morning.

Although, I was complimented on the fact that I was one of the most chilled brides that they had seen! (Amazing, considering I thought I was being an absolute demon)

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The flowers were one of the most dazzling and best spends of the whole day in my opinion. We had found a really fantastic company called ‘Seventh Heaven’ in Windsor, and they came by in the morning to show us the bouquets and the other gorgeous buttonholes and displays they had created for us.

Our ‘theme’ (I don’t really think we had one but for argument’s sake) was baby blues, baby pinks and white, and they got these bouquets absolutely perfect.

We’d also splashed out and got two giant plinth displays to put at the end of the aisle, and they absolutely brought the whole room together and made it look SO stunning as I was walking down the aisle.

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For the actual ceremony, we were given the Hamilton Suite in the hotel. The first time I actually saw how it had all come together, was literally when I walked in to get married, as I hadn’t wanted to bump into Luke downstairs.

I walked down the aisle with my dad to an instrumental from ‘The Greatest Showman’ (I mean obviously, it’s got the most bloody beautiful melodies!) and nearly freaked out and ran when I saw about 90 of my family and friends staring back at me!!

Luckily, as soon as I locked eyes with Luke it seemed to help some of the nerves evapourate (although I wish I could have told my shaky hands to chill the f out) He teared up as he saw me, which made it even more special and lovely a moment for us!

I’m not going to share the vows/ funny moments and stuff on here because I think that’s a lovely moment to keep between ourselves – but this ceremony was really really special, and I’ll forever be reliving it in my head!

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After the ceremony – it was time to chill!! *cough* drink *cough*

The hotel turned the other room around for us, as we had all our family photos and couple photos taken – whilst everyone else devoured the bar tab that we’d laid out!

Walking into the room with the applause of everyone was such a surreal moment… honestly, I felt like I was in a film or doing a weird play or something!

I could barely eat (mainly because my stomach was so nervous) – but we served up tomato soup, chicken roast dinner (with veggie and vegan alternatives) and then pear and almond tart for dessert. Plus, A LOT of wine.

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The rest of the evening was filled with speeches (my dad’s evoked this reaction below if you’re interested in how they went!) – tons of dancing, a magician who stayed the entire night in the end – and ridiculous antics in the photo booth we had set-up outside.Rachel & Luke-524-X3.jpgRachel & Luke-395-X3.jpg

I know it wasn’t the most comprehensive blog post, or the most sharing (gotta keep some of this stuff private!) but I hope you enjoyed having a little snapshot into the most perfect day of my life!

Having all of my friends and family with us to celebrate this day was such a once in a lifetime experience – and now, well I’m happily Mrs. Mahoney! Onto the next adventure…

Lots of love,

Rach

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Travelling with OCD

I adore travelling. Getting out of my head, away from my desk and throwing myself into a new culture and way of life? Perfection.

In fact, I’m currently in Thailand with my new husband as we explore the island of Phuket and all the amazing things that this fantastic country has to offer.

There is however, one thing that holds me back sometimes when I’m planning or on trips abroad (particularly to other continents where there’s a lot more that could go wrong!) – and that’s my obsessive compulsive disorder.

My OCD is something that I’ve lived with for the majority of my life, and in daily life I manage to handle my intrusive thoughts pretty well, to the extent that people wouldn’t know I had it unless I actually spoke to them about it.

I’m in good routines, I sleep well and I also have a strong support network- however, when I throw everything up in the air and travel abroad, I can often send myself into a spiral of worry and panic.

Because, as my OCD primarily focuses on contamination and health anxiety, I’ve had one or two bumps in the road.

I worry about diseases abroad, I worry about unfamiliar food and toilets and I worry about things going wrong.

I’m away from my safe comfort, my family and sometimes it really can have an impact on how I enjoy exploring new places.

So – how am I overcoming this to love my travels and to continue to want to explore?

Well, there’s a number of things that work for me.

Firstly, I keep myself as prepared as possible.

I try to look up places I’m going ahead of time, I make sure that I’ve got good battery and WiFi to contact anyone I might need, I try to put a small plan in place just to keep my brain calm.

All of these things help a little, but sometimes things will come as a curveball at me- so, the main thing I have to always remember is that, a lot of my thoughts are just that- thoughts.

My thoughts are not necessarily reality.

I try to imagine that I’m someone (like my sister) who doesn’t have OCD, and I wonder if she would even think this thought!

Finally, I try to think that the best way to cure a fear is to face is. I would regret it so much if I spent my whole life hiding away from things that frightened me.

Although mental health can be hard to manage, the memories that I’ve made whilst traveling have been irreplaceable.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about OCD in particular, it’s that nobody ever cured themselves by avoiding all the scary things in life. You’ve got to buckle in and embrace the fear that you have…

So get out there and get adventuring!

Rach

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