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Blogging, Lifestyle, My Life

4 Years of Blogging

November 11, 2017

Happy 4th blog birthday to me! 

I can’t believe it was four years ago that I sat at home and decided to start this blog. I’d attempted to write a blog before, it was just after graduating and I thought I’d talk about what it was like to look for a job after uni when you didn’t really know what you wanted to do. I soon decided that going travelling was much more exciting than working and once me and Stu had booked our trip, I decided to write my very first blog post.

If you’ve been reading this blog since 2013 then you’d know that is used to be called ‘Frankie goes to…’ and each blog post was called the name of the place we were visiting at the time. This was because that my blog was just a way of writing about our travels and letting everyone at home know what we were up to. I had no idea how big the blogging community was and that blogging could even be a full time job. 

It was towards the end of 2014 that I discovered Bloglovin’ and a ton of blogs that I still love to read today. It was not long after this that Stu and I came home and suddenly I didn’t know what to write about any more. How does a travel blogger keep blogging when they’re not travelling? This was a question that I struggled with for a long time. I wanted to write more but I felt like I couldn’t write about something not travel related on my blog. Eventually I decided to not worry about fitting in a blogging niche and just write about anything I wanted. 

Writing about anything I wanted soon meant that I wasn’t happy with the ‘Frankie goes to…’ brand and I decided to change my blog name to my name instead. I was writing about all aspects of my life so I wanted my blog name to reflect that.

Blogging has created so many wonderful opportunities for me and I’m incredibly proud of my little corner of my internet. I may not have the best photography and I may go weeks and weeks without a single blog post but as long as blogging continues to bring me joy, I’ll still be here. 

Happy Birthday francescaandrews.com

Lifestyle, Lists, My Life

30 before 30

September 10, 2017

Two weeks ago I turned 26 and I’ve started thinking about what I would like to achieve and do before I’m 30. I’ve spoken before about the importance of setting goals but not putting pressure on yourself so I’m hoping giving myself 4 years will be plenty of time. And if I don’t tick everything off the list then I’m sure I’ll allow myself an extension…

1. Gain a qualification.

This is a bit sneaky as I’m actually starting my Post Graduate Certificate in Business and Personal Coaching this month, but starting is no guarantee of completion! I’ve got 3 years to complete the course so hopefully I’ll be a qualified coach before I’m 30.

2. Run another marathon.

I’ve entered the ballot for the London Marathon again so fingers crossed! If I don’t get in, I’ll look for another race. Potentially one abroad!

3. Visit New Zealand.

New Zealand is the country that got away for me and Stu. We always tell ourselves that we’ll visit one day and I think we need to make it happen.

4. Go skiing again.

As we’re on the subject of travel I should mention this one as well. I went skiing with school years ago and I’d love to try it again.

5. Have a paid coaching client.

At first, I’ll be using my coaching qualification at work but I’d like to explore either consulting to a business or having individual clients. Watch this space!

6.  Volunteer.

I’d like to help out at a charity event or volunteer for a charity in another way.

7. Learn how to do a French plait.

Confession time! I’m awful with my hair and I’d love to be able to do all the pretty braid styles that I see on Pinterest. Time to watch countless YouTube tutorials…

8. Go to an outdoor cinema screening. 

These look so much fun and is one of those things I never get around to booking. Definitely one for the summer though.

9. Get a new kitchen.

Or at least give it a freshen up. New kitchens are expensive but I reeeeeeeally want one!

10. Appear on TV.

Okay, this one is completely random but I’d love to be on a game show. I applied for The Vault a few years ago and got an audition but that’s as close as I’ve got. I’ve just got to keep trying!

11. Treat myself more. 

I’ve always been good at saving and I actually struggle to spend money. Any excuse to take something out of my basket and it’s gone. I’d like to get better at buying things for myself.

12. Visit Italy.

Everything about this country looks gorgeous and it’s really not that far from the UK.

13. Start my family tree.

I love History and this would be a great project to discover more about my family.

14. Complete a triathlon.

I always like to push myself to new challenges and a triathlon would be perfect.

15.  Bake more.

I love baking and definitely don’t do it enough. I’d like to challenge myself more and I’m feeling inspired by the last couple of episodes of Bake Off.

16.  Start Yoga.

I’ve had a little taster of yoga and I’d like to give it a go properly.

17. Upcycle some furniture. 

I like the idea of giving some furniture a new lease of life instead of it going to the bin. I usually start browsing the John Lewis website for new furniture so I think it would be fun to hunt around charity shops and Gumtree instead.

18. Change my hair.

I’ve had the same hairstyle for years and I’m desperate to do something different. Shorter? New colour?

19. Display pictures from our travels.

I’ve started the mammoth task of printing all the photos from our travels but we need to start framing some or making them into a canvas.

20. Try another festival. 

I’ve only ever been to Glastonbury so not sure if other music festivals will live up to my expectations. Maybe a food festival instead?

21. Visit New York. 

Pretty much all of this list is travel related but what’s life without travel? The Big Apple has been on my bucket list for a long time so my 30th would be a perfect excuse to get it ticked off.

22. Blog more. 

I need to make more time for my blog and increase the amount of posts I publish. Even one post a week seems too much to ask at the moment.

23. Add more recipes to our repertoire. 

You know everyone has a handful of go-to meals that they can easily make in the week? I’d like to mix them up a bit more.

24. Host Christmas Day at our house.

This one scares me but I’d like to be the host for Christmas Day. It definitely won’t be this year so that leaves me with three more years to prepare myself (and Stu).

25. Start a podcast. 

I like to listen to them and I’m tempted to start my own…

26. Race more.

I run quite a lot at my local running club but I don’t enter many races. I feel more motivated to run when I have a race in the diary so I’d like to do 4 a year from now on.

27. Visit the Warner Bros studios again.

I visited the Harry Potter studio tour a few years ago and I’m desperate to visit again. There’s so much more to see there now.

28. Read 30 new books.

I tend to read my favourite books over and over again (Harry Potter – I’m looking at you) so I want to challenge myself to read something different and hopefully discover some new authors in the process.

29. Say yes more. 

It’s too easy to get into a routine in life. I’d like to say yes to more opportunities and to not be afraid to step outside of my comfort zone.

30. Be happy.

I’m very happy in my life now and I hope that I still feel the same in 4 years time.

Lifestyle, My Life

Why Do We Always Ask Ourselves ‘What Next?’

May 22, 2017

Do you ever feel like your life has to follow a certain path just because that’s the way other people think it should be done? I’m talking education, get a good job, meet someone, buy a house, get engaged, get married, have a baby, have another one, keep pushing for that next promotion, retire, grandkids…. Then what?

Life goes quickly enough as it is and I’m sure we could all do without the pressure that we and others put on ourselves to be constantly moving towards the next milestone. So why do we do it?

I know I’m guilty of asking friends and colleagues when they think they’re get engaged, move out etc but I hate it when people ask me. ALL OF THE PRESSURE.

I’m trying to make a conscious effort not to ask these sort of questions because I’ve realised that it really doesn’t matter.

So what if you never get married? So what if you never have any kids or pop out a whole football team’s worth? So what if you rent all your life? IT’S YOUR LIFE.

Forget about what society thinks, people will judge you no matter what you do so you might as well enjoy your life.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s good to have goals but your life doesn’t have to follow a particular order. How boring would it be if everyone did the same thing?

There’s no need to compare or feel judged. Just do you and enjoy it.

Lifestyle, My Life

For the love of… Harry Potter!

January 2, 2017

Happy New Year! I thought I’d start the new year off with a series of blog posts about my little obsessions in life. I want to share with you what makes me happy and what makes me, me.


I’ve got to kick things off with the main man in my life after Stu, Mr Harry Potter. Oh, Harry. I read the first Harry Potter book when I was in Primary School and I haven’t looked back since. I was always desperate for J K Rowling to bring out the next instalment and then read each new book the day it was released. I couldn’t bear it if I accidentally found what happened before I had read a book so I locked myself away in my room and lost myself in Harry’s world. The books made me cry and made me laugh out loud and were a definitive part of my childhood. I loved reading the final chapter but it was hard to believe I would never read a new Harry Potter story again. I still re-read all of the books every year and enjoy them just as much as the first time.


I’ll always prefer the books to the films due to the how much the films miss out but the films still do J K Rowling’s stories justice. They’re the perfect films to have on in the background so you can dip in and out because you know the story so well. I visited the Harry Potter Studio’s a few years ago and the amount of detail in all the props and sets is phenomenal. So much time has been spent on everything, no matter how much screen time it would receive.


In March I finally get to see Harry Potter and The Cursed Child in London and I’m so excited. I read the script when it came out last year but I’ve heard it’s even better on the stage. I was really emotional reading the script and I couldn’t believe I was reading a new story after all these years. It was great that so many characters got a mention so we could find out what happened to them after the seventh book. I had a similar feeling watching Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. It’s strange hearing that Harry Potter music again and hearing Dumbledore’s name mentioned in another film! I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of finding out more about the magical world so I’m glad that J K Rowling is showing no signs of stopping!

My sister is off to the Harry Potter Theme Park in Florida this year and I’m insanely jealous. One day I’ll make it but for now I’m more than happy to read my books over and over again.

Anyone for a Butterbeer?

 

 

Lifestyle, My Life

Reflections on 2016.

December 29, 2016

It’s been a funny old year hasn’t it? Social media has been full of negativity for 2016 and mostly because a few famous died rather than the actual atrocities that have been occurring through out the world. Globally, it’s been the year of the unexpected, whether we should have seen some events coming or not. Personally, 2016 has been a really good year. Last year was a bit all over place, trying to settle back in Bristol after a year travelling but this year has been a year of putting down roots.

Easter Weekend was spent with my Dad and Stepmum in London being tourists. We saw a play, visited a museum and experienced the London Dungeons. Nothing like being a tourist in your own country!

Back in April , Stu and I had an offer accepted on a house and we picked up the keys in July. I’m really proud of us for saving a house deposit in just over a year and I can’t thank our family and friends enough for all the help they’ve given us since we moved in. We’ve got a lot more work to do on the house so I think 2017 will be the year of DIY!

August saw a promotion at work and the realisation that I’m incredibly lucky to be in a job I enjoy. After being in a job that I hated, it’s really made me appreciate working with a supportive team who want you to succeed.

October was a month of travel. I loved discovering Amsterdam with Stu. It’s a beautiful city full of surprises and it was amazing to travel with Stu again. That was our first trip since Paris in January 2015 and we promised we wouldn’t leave it so long again. Later on in October was a surprise trip to Dublin for Stu’s Dad’s 60th. This was a jam packed 5 days full of quality family time.

To finish off the year I was nominated in two categories at the UK Blog Awards! This blog has always been a bit of fun for me, something I sometimes have loads of enthusiasm for and sometimes I can’t think of anything to write about. I was amazed to be nominated and very grateful for everyone who voted for me.

I hope 2017 is filled with just as many good times, there’s already a fair few events in the calendar so I think it’s going to be a busy one. Who needs a decorated living room anyway?

 

Lifestyle, My Life

Christmas Planning

December 1, 2016

How is it December? How are we in the last month of 2016?! I can’t believe that another year is coming to an end. I seem to say that every year but I love December so much. December means lots of birthday celebrations for Stu and his family, getting ready for Christmas and then celebrating on New Years Eve. It’s a hectic month but I love that everyone wants to get together at this time of year. It’s a month full of food, drink and celebrations. Without getting all soppy and sentimental, Christmas really is about spending time with friends and family so there can never be too many events in my diary.

Christmas Day itself can be a logistical nightmare. It’s hard to please everyone and even harder trying to figure out how to get to each location. Everyone conveniently forgets who the driver was last year in hope that they’re allowed to keep the alcohol flowing again. Stu and I spent Christmas together last year with my family and it was a brilliant day. Everyone stayed together for the whole day so there were no comings and goings, just fun and plenty of food and drink! This year will be a little different as we’re in Bristol where we both have family and friends. It’s also the first Christmas in our own house so making a plan of where to go seemed like it was going to be a tough one.

Luckily for us we came to a decision quite easily and everyone is going to be happy (I hope!). We’re going to wake up in our house and then visit family later on. We haven’t decided on the driving situation yet though so there might be an argument on the horizon! I’ve heard of couples who really struggle to decide where to have Christmas Dinner. Everyone thinks that their family does the best Christmas and find someone else’s really weird. Every family has their own little traditions, it’s what makes them special. It may be strange spending Christmas Day with other people but if you go into the day with an open mind then you’ll probably find that you really enjoy it. Different is good!

How do you decide the plans for Christmas Day?

My Life

New Beginnings.

October 15, 2016

Welcome to the new look francescaandrews.com!

I’ve been dissatisfied with my blog for months and months which has led to a lack of content and even when I’ve put content out, I haven’t been 100% happy with it so I’ve become even more dissatisfied. It’s a vicious circle people! To get myself out of this rut, I’ve had a long think about where I want this blog to go and how I’ve changed as a person since I started this blog.

I started this blog in 2013 before Stu and I went travelling. I chose the blog title ‘Frankie goes to…’ so each new blog post could start with where I was at that time. I wasn’t that aware of other blogs at the time and considered mine more of a diary than anything else. Towards the end of our trip, I discovered this whole world of bloggers and wanted to take my blog to the next level. The only trouble was, I wasn’t travelling anymore. For over a year I’ve tried to stay in the travel blog niche but when you’re saving for a house deposit, travelling falls way down the list of priorities. Sure, we went on a few trips which I documented but since living permanently in the UK, there was so much more going on in my life which I wanted to talk about but felt that it didn’t fit in with my blog.

When I bought the domain name for this blog, I went for francescaandrews.com instead of frankiegoesto. This was mainly because I was scared some lawyers for Frankie Goes To Hollywood were going to sue me but also because I’ve always been aware that my blog will probably change direction in the future. The change in direction is way overdue but it’s finally here! I hope you enjoy reading about other aspects of my life and fingers crossed this gives me my blogging mojo back and there will be plenty more posts to read!

 

My Life

Turning 25.

August 30, 2016

I’ve never been bothered about turning a year older (before anyone says, I know 25 isn’t old!). I think that comes from being an August baby, I was one of the youngest in my school year so I’ve always watched my friends hit the age milestones before I did. I was the last to be able to learn how to drive and the last to be able to (legally) drink so I’ve always been excited for my birthday and never gave a second thought to what age I was turning.

However, there’s something about turning 25 that feels a bit more… momentous. Does that sound weird? Maybe it’s the whole quarter of a century thing but it feels like a real landmark. I feel like I’m entering a new period of my life. I’ve graduated from uni, been a backpacker, found a job I love and bought a house, all in the last 4 years. I’m immensely proud of all that I’ve achieved but I’ve always been one to think, ‘what next?’. I like having something to aim for. So, what is next?

To be honest, I don’t really know. There’s still plenty I want to achieve at work and there’s a hell of a lot of decorating to be done in my house but you never know what’s around the corner so I’m going to concentrate on enjoying being 25. Happy Birthday to me!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My Life

Life Lately – We bought a house!

July 19, 2016

I started this blog back in 2013 before Stu and I went on our year of travels. We’ve now been home for over a year and we’re about to embark on our biggest adventure to date because as of last Friday, we are officially home owners! It sounds strange to say that but I’m so proud of how far we’ve come since we’ve returned home.

Coming home from long term travel is hard but having a house deposit as goal to focus on has helped massively. Sure, there were times when we thought about spending our savings on a big trip again but I know we’ve made the best decision for us by buying our home. We can still travel, it will just be a different kind of travel and that’s totally fine with us.

I’m now really excited to making this house our own. We’ve both been going crazy on Pinterest the last couple of months and are full of ideas of how we want to decorate. We’re going to be pretty busy for a long time but I’m looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully I can share a few photos on here as things start to take shape.

Here’s to a bright and happy future!


 

My Life

Making The Most Of Each Day

July 14, 2016

A lot of people talk about the importance of living each day as if it were your last but in all honestly, it’s pretty hard to do. How many of you are amazed at how quickly the days go? One minute you’re moaning on a Monday morning and then suddenly it’s the weekend again. I’m always saying that it’s scary how quickly time goes. I remember my mum saying that time goes even faster as you get older and it’s definitely true. So as a nation of procrastinators, how can we go about changing our mind set and actually making the most of each day?

I think a scare tactic works best. I recently watched this TED Talks video by Tim Urban and he talked about putting your life in to weekly squares. This is what your life (assuming you live until 90) looks like broken down into weeks.

life in week squares

 

I don’t know about you, but to me, that doesn’t look like very squares at all. And that’s even if you live until 90! Seeing how far into that chart I am, it made me think about what I want to achieve in life and how long I have to do it. I definitely work best with a deadline and essentially, life does have a deadline. Just not one that we know about. I like to look at that chart when I find myself wishing the weeks away until an event. I should appreciate every week and not think of them as weeks that need to hurry up until I do something fun.

I hope that chart has made you think twice about only ‘living for the weekend’ and that you can start to make small steps towards making the most of each day.