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Saturday, 3 December 2016

On the 25th of November, I was lucky enough to attend the heavily anticipated Vuelio Blog Awards.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was in the run up to this exclusive event. I'd never been to an awards ceremony before (except for the Unsigned Music Awards, but that was different) and certainly not on behalf of my blog. 

Although I wasn't nominated or anything like that, the fact that I was even invited to go made me feel so happy and valued as a blogger. My blog is so small compared to others, so the fact that I/my blog was considered as even professional enough for such a big event really made me happy and proud.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Vuelio | Vuelio Blog Awards | Blog Event

I'd heard good things about the last year's event - and lots of good things about the company too - so I spent a long time trying to decide what to wear. A gown seemed too dressy considering I was only attending as a guest/blogger as opposed to a nominee, but, of course, it was still black tie, so I still had to dress quite classy.

I really liked the idea of a tulle skirt (they're just so princess like!) so when I spotted this one in TK Maxx a couple of weeks before the event, I was smitten. It was the last one left and it was in my size - it was fate. I paired this with a simple black top from H&M and chunky heels to complete the look.

I attended with my lovely photographer friend Alejandra, who I think perhaps is the only person I know who loves rockstars just as much as - if not more - than me! I was quite surprised when a lot of people I knew dropped out, too.

Not to sound crass or greedy, but the super glam event consisted of a three course meal and free wine - why would anyone say no to that?!

Still, it meant more for me and our table as the few empty seats meant around six bottles of wine between just the five of us. So good.

Upon arrival to The Brewery, I was blown away. The whole venue was very welcoming and pretty and then, when we got inside to the main room, all the tables were adjourned with candles and silverware - it was so beautiful it looked like we were at the reception of a wedding!

Our first course was already served up - I couldn't tell you what this was exactly but the parma ham and sauce was just delicious. For the next hour or so, we ate, drank and socialized, getting to know each other better, sharing blogging tips and such, before the awards started.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Vuelio | Vuelio Blog Awards | Blog Event

There were some notable winners, but what I really loved was that Vuelio focused on all sorts of bloggers and that they shied away from 'big bloggers' as such, which was a welcome surprise. It was nice to discover new blogs that genuinely deserved their awards, and it was easy to see that the company had put in a lot of time choosing them.

Even though the event was really glam, I felt the whole thing was very down to earth, too. It was clear to see the evening was about the smaller bloggers as well as the bigger ones, as opposed to bigger blog awards where, for example, some are known for choosing winners based on popularity and where judges don't even read or look at the nominees blogs!

It was really lovely to support bloggers who really deserve and need that support, rather than another award going to the same old blogger who already has tons of awards and doesn't need to benefit from extra publicity.

The rest of the evening was spent dancing and socializing with a dessert bar, more wine and a photobooth. 

There's not much I can say about the event really as this isn't a 'review' post - but I wanted to write about it anyway, if even just to say how grateful I am that these kind of blog awards exist! 

I had a lovely time and would like to thank Vuelio for not only inviting me, but for supporting bloggers the right way.

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Thursday, 1 December 2016

It's that time of year already - and boy can I feel it. We've had a few real frosty mornings already, and a full blown rotten cold seems to have hit me out of nowhere, causing me to spend my evenings curled up in bed with nothing but a good book or DVD.

There's a few things I'm looking forward to this month, but for the sake of not posting about Christmas-related things like every other blogger right now - and also, because we don't really celebrate Christmas in our household anymore (at least not in a traditional way!) - here's what else I'm looking forward to this December.

Also, can you believe I've managed to do a 'Hello [post]' every single month this year for the first time ever?! Go me!

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Hello December | Lifestyle

THE BOOK
Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington will be released on the 15th and is dubbed to be a psychological thriller for fans of The Girl on the Train and I Let You Go. The book tells the story of a mother named Karen who has her own anxiety issues to deal with, and her seventeen year old daughter who returns home after a night out - drunk and accompanied by police officers. Her best friend is found murdered the next day. Although this book focuses on Karen and her fears for her daughter, I think a lot of people will be able to resonate with this story. So many times I've got myself on a state on a night out and/or put myself in really stupid situations, without bothering to think about the consequences or what my parents would have said. I've grown up a lot now - and luckily have never had a night that has resulted in a friend being murdered - but I think this book will really hit home, especially with the idea that it's so easy for something very, very bad happen when you've let your guard down to have fun.

THE MOVIE
Suicide Squad is finally out on DVD on the 13th! I can't believe I haven't seen it yet! I know it got mixed reviews, but I've been itching to see this film for so long now because a) it's so edgy so right up my street, b) the cast is just awesome and c) well, Twenty One Pilots did the lead single for the film which means it must be good. I mean did you see the music video for Heathens?!


THE EVENT
As always, my sister will be taking me for a surprise in London this month for my birthday, so I'm super excited to see what that will entail. However, some other cool events I know that are going on in the capital are: a singles night at BallieBalerson (that ace new ball pit bar that everyone is going on about currently!) - can you even imagine meeting your future husband there and telling your grandkids you met and fell in love in a ball pit?! This is tonight, but if that's too late for you, it's worth popping down to the bar for a normal event anyway! There's also Morning Gloryville events around London throughout the month, and these events consist of early morning feel good pop up dance parties, boasting music, yoga, smoothies, coffees and free hugs - as well as exclusive DJ's (which in the past have included Rudimental and Fatboy Slim!). During a month normally filled with cold days and gorging on seasonal food and alcohol, a fun but healthy event wouldn't go amiss.

THE SONG

December is always a quiet one for new releases, so instead this month I'm going to pick my song of the month, especially as I'm not doing a playlist anytime soon. Of course I've been listening to tons of twenty one pilots lately, as well as Lower Than Atlantis and You Me At Six, but one song I'm really digging at the moment is Howl by Biffy Clyro. It wasn't released this month and it's not even that recent anymore but it's timeless I think. Also a special shout out to The Maine's Ho Ho Hopefully, a Christmas song that includes the lyrics 'December 1st', therefore making it a personal tradition for me (and other fans) to listen to the song every 1st December. Often on repeat.

ANYTHING ELSE?

I can't believe soon it'll be a whole year since the re-launch of this blog. A whole year since buying my own domain, putting so much more time and effort into the blog, doing these 'Hello [month]' posts once a month, updating every other day (bar once or twice) and just generally loving the blog just that bit more. Although there's still a long way to go, I'm super proud of how far it has come in just twelve months so thanks for sticking by with it all!

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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Now that I work from home on a regular basis, I've spent some time wishing I had my own office space. 

Currently, I set my laptop up on the dining room table, although I still occasionally work from bed. It's not healthy, I know, which is why I wish I could design my own space.

I find it hard to concentrate when I don't have my own space, because things like mess, an uncomfortable chair etc makes it really hard to concentrate. I also believe that if I had a set space especially for work, just by sitting myself in that area I would feel more productive.

I thought it might be nice to share some ideal office spaces with you and share some inspiration I've taken for when I do get my own place and get around to designing my own place.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Office Space | Inspiration | Career

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Office Space | Inspiration | Career

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Office Space | Inspiration | Career

A lot of these ideas share pastel colours and, where possible, minimal mess, which I think is essential for having a clear head when working.

I also use shops for inspiration, and already know where I'll be visiting when it comes to putting together my own office space. Paperchase is great for stationary, whereas TK Maxx is ideal for decorative office items, like tassel bunting (as shown above) and inspiring prints. I also really like the filing cabinets from Furniture at Work, and That Lame Company for finishing touches.

My only problem is that I struggle with the idea of minimalism as I'm such a messy person, but hopefully, if I get my own space and dedicate the time to creating and office area, I'll keep it nice and clean!

Do you have a dream office space? Let me know!


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Friday, 25 November 2016

Today I'm just going to do a quick catch up regarding what I've been up to lately and a few opportunities I'd like to talk about, too.

First and foremost, I'm excited to announce that today (as in, right this second!), I'm teaming up with SheNomads to do an exclusive Snapchat takeover on their account - how fun?! SheNomads is an uber cool company whose goal is to share the stories of those who are underrepresented in tech, travel etc = basically our whole generation, who do anything but just sit at a desk job and work a typical nine to five day.

I really love their values, and, as I'm off to attend the Vuelio Blog Awards tonight, it's a really fun opportunity to collaborate. Make sure you follow them on Snapchat (their username is shenomad) to see what I get up to and get a glimpse of the awards night!

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Life Lately

There's also been one or two other opportunities I've been lucky enough to achieve lately. I'll soon be blogging for Metro, which has such a huge audience reach that I actually can't even believe it. I find it hard to believe that my writing is that good, so the fact that someone considers me talented enough to blog for such a successful company has made me feel really rather happy! I'll be starting my contract ASAP, with my first posts likely to go live in December (if not earlier!) so please do keep an eye out! 

Another thing I'd like to talk about is the fact that I'm hoping to go into a new direction with my writing - in a professional sense, anyway. Although I have experience with working in travel journalism, mixing my writing with one of my other passions has been on my mind for a long, long time now and therefore I have made the decision to try and break into music journalism.

It's something I have always considered really, and I have had plenty of experience contributing to music publications in the past, but lately I've been looking at it as more of a career decision and have spent my time searching for jobs directly in the industry. It's not going to be easy, but I'm lucky that I do have a few good opportunities thrown my way by Invicta Mag, a publication that reviews new music, focuses on artists and writes about shows. 

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Life Lately

I have a few pieces I'm already very proud of on there and a few interviews I've really enjoyed conducting, too. I've known for a long time now how much I enjoy interviewing bands, so hopefully I can further that dream more soon.

So, anyone that knows of any roles in music journalism that you think may be suitable - hit me up ;)

In other news, I had a really fun opportunity to visit Great Yarmouth with Heart Radio at the weekend, which is one of my part time roles. Even though it was out of season, me and two other lovely ladies went down to sell some merchandise, host a quiz and promote a competition. The weekend consisted of free food and soft drinks, a fun disco every night and some awesome entertainment. It was really fun to get away for the weekend and I couldn't believe I was getting paid to do so little work that felt like so much fun!

I've also began a new teatox with Essential Teatox. So far, I'm feeling pretty good, and the full review will be up after Christmas (with a few tweets updating my progress here and there!), and, as always, you can still find me over at Debut Magazine as the online editor - although I do have features coming up in the print issue too!

And, finally, I've decided I want to start drumming lessons!

Phew! I'm feeling pretty proud about some of these opportunities, especially as just a couple of weeks ago I found myself suffering at night, wracked with thoughts about me never 'getting anywhere' or doing what I want to do. So getting my head down and putting myself forward for some of these opportunities has really helped.

What have you all been up to lately? Let me know with a comment! 

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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Everyone has their own issues.

That's a given.

Everyone has their own insecurities, their own baggage, their own demons to deal with.

I know I certainly have my own weird problems that I alone deal with.

Although I'm not an expert, I know how hard it is to feel so lost and like their is no outcome to your problems.

This is a tough post for me to write, but by all means, please be assured that I am not offering professional advice or likening my 'baggage' to that of others. 

I am simply sharing my own experiences and what has helped me through them.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | How To Help Yourself

A few years ago, when I graduated from university and when I was not working, I got myself in a bad way which would see me sleeping in during the day, spending my days doing nothing and then driving myself crazy at night.

Unable to sleep, my mind would wander until I would feel almost suffocated by my thoughts and my life, nearly unable to breathe.

I'd think about my life and how I did not know where it was going. I'd think about how I wanted something more from this life - only I didn't know what. I thought about how I wanted to travel but couldn't do this without money, and I found myself feeling terrified of wasting my life away.

I still often find myself scared that one day I'm going to wake up and realize I never took the chance to do all the things I wanted to do. One of my biggest fears in life is wasting my life like that.

I'd feel suffocated thinking about these feelings. I'd feel like the walls were caving in on me and that all I wanted to do was to scream or to get out and just go anywhere. But as this almost entirely hit me in the middle of the night, there was nothing I could do except get in a state.

At times, it panicked me, and there was only two things that could really calm me down at the time - and that was to write, or to listen to music.

Eventually things got better when I did find a job and found myself busy in the day, allowing myself to sleep at night.

But even I know deep down that it never really fixed the solution as I never actually went on to do any of those things I wanted. I just, y'know, got a job which helped me sleep at night and didn't give me much opportunity to entertain those thoughts again.

Except it seems like those thoughts are coming back again fast and heavy, and I'm starting to revisit those options to help calm me down in moments where I can't leave.

I don't know what these feelings are exactly. On paper, they sound like panic attacks or anxiety attacks, but I know they're not because I don't suffer from anxiety - so, who knows.

Regardless, here's what helps me - at least in the moment, anyway - and may hopefully help you too, if you suffer from anything similar.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | How To Help Yourself

WRITE
Writing helps me a lot. Usually I'll try and write about what I feel, and then, when that's all out on paper or on screen, write about something else - anything else. A blog post. Fiction. A diary entry - anything. It forces me to concentrate on the words on the page and the message I want to get across. Even writing this post has helped me, as it's helped me be more vocal about these feelings I've been having.

LISTEN TO MUSIC
Music is another one that helps me a lot, although sometimes, depending on what I listen to, it helps me give in and accept what I'm feeling and have a little cry first, instead of just denying it. I let my mind wander with the music, making up music videos in my head or trying to decipher the lyrics.

WATCH SOME COMEDY
Anything that will crack a smile. Scrubs or The Office US tends to help me, and before I know it my move has improved massively as I'm engrossed instead in the characters on the screen.

GO FOR A RUN/GET SOME FRESH AIR
My 'moments' seem to only happen at night, so often going out for a run or a walk isn't an option for me, but on the rare occasion that I do feel like this in the day, getting outside helps a lot. I usually stick my headphones on and listen to my music loud during a run, or just take the dog out for a walk.

MAKE A PLAN
I tend to be more productive in the evening anyway, but there's only so much I can do at 3am. Writing and job hunting helps, but 'making a plan' is a new method for me which has helped greatly. During one of those evenings, I simply told myself enough was enough and made a note of the date in my phone. I then told myself I had a deadline of three years to get to where I wanted to be. I thought about where I wanted to be in three years - no matter how silly and fanatical - then worked out backwards, step by step, what I had to do to get there.

It sounds like an incredibly obvious choice, but not one I had considered before. Normally I'll job hunt in the day and that's it - I've never really entertained the thought of 'oh, okay, I could be doing this dream job at this point in however many years time, if I just work hard enough.'

Since then, every single day I've taken one small step in the right direction, whether that's getting a band interview, applying for a job in the industry or even just putting myself out there. For example, this past weekend I was away with work, and much of the role required me to approach the public and talk to them. That was a scary thought for me but, hey, I did it, and I know that even just taking that tiny step, it had given me a bit of confidence that I can later use when it comes to approaching people for interviews, for example.

BREATHE
Finally, just breathe. Sometimes I feel like my breaths are coming in too quick, like my heart is beating too fast and that I'm getting myself into more of a state with each passing second. I try to take some deep, slow breathes in this case, and usually, within a few minutes, my breathing and heart rate will return to normal.

Although these may not work for everyone, these are just some methods that have personally calmed me down in the moment when suffering from these kind if feelings/demons.

Of course I am no medical expert, but if anyone is going through something similar and reads this post to discover that a) they're not alone and b) sometimes natural methods can help, then posting this would have been worth it!

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