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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

At just three years shy of 30, I like to think I have most of my shit together when it comes to relationships.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect - I still go batshit crazy when I'm PMSing - but there are some things I’ve learned from my early twenties.

Unfortunately, one of them things isn't how to deal with the baggage that comes along with a new relationship, or, most notably, 'ex girlfriend' baggage.

Not all relationships are plain sailing. I've had my fair share of complicated relationships in the past, but up until recently, I never had the trouble of an ex girlfriend who just wouldn't let go - at least not to this extent.

I don't think many people do, nor do many people go into a relationship expecting to deal with that type of baggage or even knowing how to minimize it. Still, I learned that it can happen and I also learned how to deal with it, so hopefully, if you're ever in a similar situation, this might help you.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Relationships | Dating | Advice | Love | Baggage

DON'T BE AFRAID TO DROP THE 'COOL GIRL' FACADE
Similarly, don't downplay your own feelings either. If something is really bothering you, voice your concern. I know it sucks to be *that* girl who doesn't like who their boyfriend talks to or gets a say in who he should have in his life - but being uncomfortable with an overbearing ex doesn't make you that girl at all. Drop the cool girl facade: you can't always be happy and easygoing and if you don't tell him/your other half that it bothers you, it's only going to niggle away at you and make things worse. Don't downplay it either. An ex messaging and trying to move in on your man is not okay, even if he rejects her or ignores her messages! Plus, what's better in a new relationship than getting to the point where you can let your guard down a little and show your vulnerable side? It's tough, but it's a necessary step to take to really feel comfortable around each other.

TRY AND GET TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
Unfortunately, some ex's just can't let go, and often that's all there is to it. There are always going to be people in this world who don’t have standards, who set their sights on something and try their hardest to get it - without caring about who they hurt on the way. But, sometimes, there's a reason for this type of thing. Is your other half accidentally sending off the wrong vibes whilst trying to stay friends with an ex? Are they not quite as over the ex as they claim to be? Try and get to the bottom of the problem, as it's always super easy to paint an ex as someone who can't move on (and often, this is true), but sometimes they're getting mixed signals or might even be entirely innocent with your other half leading them on (this has happened to me before, and it's not unusual for guys to pair 'psycho ex girlfriends' against 'current girlfriends' when in reality they just want to have their cake and eat it too - unfortunately it's a fail safe way to have an excuse for their actions should any issues arise).

BLOCK THEM FROM YOUR LIFE
I'd never condone anyone to try and choose who can and cannot be in their other halves life, but if it's really bothering you, it can't hurt to ask them to do the honours. This may be an unpopular opinion but at the end of the day, and ex is an ex for a reason. They might still have them on Facebook because they want to be friends or maybe they haven't deleted their number because they don't want things to be awkward if they bump into each other on a night out, but none of that is as important as how it's affecting you. Any boyfriend would be more than happy to delete an ex (if they're acting out of order) from their life to reassure you. And let's face it, they probably have a lot of friends anyway. Why would they need another in the form of an ex?

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Relationships | Dating | Advice | Love | Baggage

Likewise, block them yourselves, even if they've never made contact with you directly. It'll stop them watching what you're both up to and it'll mean you don't have to put up with vague-but-obviously-aimed-at-you Facebook statuses. My favourite was that I should learn the difference between being loved and being a rebound, even though my boyfriend had been single since before Christmas and had dated other girls between breaking up with his ex and meeting me. You just don't need that in your life, especially if the ex is prone to playing games = don't let stuff like that play on your mind and make the situation worse.

TRUST IN YOUR OTHER HALF
Trust is super important in a relationship, but it's really only in times like these that you realize how important it is and how vital it is. Some ex's will go as far as trying to get into your head; whether that's claiming you can't make your other half happy, insisting he's not actually over his ex or even creating lies that he may have cheated on you. Even if it's just one person's word against the other's, it's really important to put your trust in your other half; no matter what.

TALK TO THEM
This would also be a good way to get to the bottom of things, but generally, men are really crap with this type of thing. In their mind, they're with you, not them, so that should be that. In your/a girls mind, you know that forthcoming behaviour from an ex isn't right, the Facebook statuses are throwing shade and generally, until you know that they know what they're doing isn't right/they've been told to back off, it's going to worry you. You don't have to be a b*tch about it, but if things get really bad, there's nothing wrong with just asking why they're still chasing after your other half and if there is a particular reason, like him not making it obvious enough that he's moved on or her still believing there's a chance etc. 

DON'T FEEL ASHAMED
Finally, don't feel ashamed that it's got to you; most of the time, they're doing what they're doing for the simple fact of getting to you so that the issues will arise in your relationship and you'll break up and let them win. But just because it bothers you and plays on your mind, it doesn't mean that your relationship isn't strong or secure. I had my boyfriend's ex messaging me things like 'he's only with you to fill the void I left' and 'I will always love him and put up with the fact that he's with you because I understand him and he knows that', which, of course, hurt and kind of tapped into my insecure side that every girl has. But when I thought about it further, I made the choice to not listen and not let her win. Sometimes it's not when they harass your other half but more what they say to you; if they play on your insecurities, it's very easy to cause arguments between you and cause a break up. If it gets to you, don't be ashamed, but just speak to your boyfriend or other half about it and let him reassure you it's not true.

I'd just like to add that despite what I've said above, it's always important to be sure that what you're fighting for is worth it. In my case, it was, because I genuinely see a future with my boyfriend, but sometimes, the drama can get too much. Your other half has to meet you halfway, but there's always the possibility of it not going away completely. If your boyfriend isn't taking the correct measures to remove the issue from his life, sometimes it's just not worth staying for the drama = there's only so much you can take.

In the wise words of a creepy porno director from the film The Girl Next Door, "Always know if the juice is worth the squeeze."

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Sunday, 28 May 2017

Another day, another nutritional range review - after all, who doesn't like the sound of a quick fix to get healthy and tone up?

When the opportunity came up to review the Nutribuddy range, I jumped at the chance. I was sent the breakfast bundle (consisting of a breakfast flavour powder, instant porridge and a shaker, as well as add on's chia seeds, coconut flakes and flaxseeds), but what really drew me in was the fact that that all the products are entirely vegan (as well as vegetarian - obvs - gluten-free, soy-free, lactose-free and sugar-free!).

In actual fact, at first I didn't even realize it was an aid for weight loss - I was intrigued by the fact that it was all vegan and, for a long time, I'd been struggling to think of more vegan breakfast products. I struggled with breakfast as it is when I was eating meat, so trying to find healthy vegan options in the morning when, as a whole I'm not a big fan of breakfast, was something I'd struggled with.

Therefore, I chose to review this product for the sure fact that I could replace my boring go-to breakfast of avocado on toast.

But more about the product.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Health | Fitness | Nutrition | Nutribuddy

WHO ARE NUTRIBUDDY?
As a company, Nutribuddy create their products to fit three core values:

Safe | When buying any health products - it's vital to know what you're buying is safe. We always have safety at the forefront of our minds when developing any new products. Despite our 'safety first' ethos we have still managed to develop some of the most effective products on the market with clinical studies to back up the effectiveness of the core ingredients.

Healthy | We believe health products should actually be healthy! We ensure all our products contain healthy, natural ingredients and we don't use any unnecessary bulking agents, fillers and other unnecessary added ingredients, to ensure our products are pure and healthy. We only use natural flavourings. All our products are Non-GMO and our whey protein comes from grass-fed cows.

Effective | The Nutribuddy team have spent countless hours formulating the Nutribuddy products to make sure they really work! All our products are based on real science and where applicable the key ingredients have robust clinical evidence to back up their effectiveness as well as safety. To view real Nutribuddy results, visit our testimonials page.

I love these core values, and the testimonials page is extremely motivational - it's so nice to see physical photos of actual customers and the results they have achieved by using Nutribuddy's products.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Health | Fitness | Nutrition | Nutribuddy


WHAT'S IN THE PRODUCTS?
The Nutribuddy Breakfast contains organic gluten-free oats, organic flaxseeds, organic chia seeds, organic sesame seeds, organic desiccated coconut, vanilla flavour and stevia, whereas the instant porridge includes just gluten-free instant oats, flaxseeds and stevia - so all good stuff!

HOW I GOT ON
I started my breakfast kit not long after returning home from Mexico as a boost to get me back onto my fitness regime (it turns out getting in a new relationship can make you super lazy). Mostly, I relied on the breakfast blend, simply because it was so easy to put together and drink on the go. You simply measure out three scoops (using the included scoop spoon of which I do not know the correct name of!) of the organic oats, seeds and coconut and 300ml of milk or a milk substitute, pour it all into the shaker and, well, shake. The taste is delicious and it kind of tastes like a sweet but light milkshake. This surprised me, as I'd tried oats in the past and found them RANK. It was ideal for on the go though and even when I knew I was staying at my boyfriends house, I'd measure out the power into the shaker (or a small container) in advance so that I could just add milk at his - so it was really easy.

I also enjoyed the porridge, but one thing I will say is that the suggested number of scoops to use doesn't result in much porridge and certainly not enough to fill you up. I mean maybe that's the point, as in to eat less, but I tended to add an extra scoop or two as I felt this stopped unnecessary snacking later in the day. I also added the flaxseeds and coconut shavings on a few occasions and some fruit, which resulted in me finally being able to put together a super cute oat bowl that was totally Instagram worthy. I'm also not a huge fan of porridge normally, but this porridge was delicious.

Day to day, I actually didn't feel a huge change. I didn't feel like I had extra energy or that my hunger was quenched, but in a typical placebo effect, the fact that I was choosing a healthy breakfast over anything else did make me feel more upbeat and like I was doing a job.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Health | Fitness | Nutrition | Nutribuddy

CONCLUSION
Although I didn't feel different day by day, I actually did notice a difference after a week or so of using the breakfast kit. I looked a little less bloated but physically I couldn't see that I had lost any weight. HOWEVER. After weighing myself at my Nan's, I realized I had lost weight. 

When I finished Veganuary and spent a week binge watching unhealthy food before slowly easing myself back into going vegan, I weighed myself and I had put on weight. Simply by going from full vegan to full not vegan, I put on just over half a stone. 

When I weighed myself after a week or so of using these products, I had lost around about this amount and found my weight exactly the same as it was the day I stopped being vegan. Therefore, I had lost the weight I had gained since going back to eating meat, which was reassuring.

It's interesting that that's what the scales said, although I didn't physically see a huge difference. However, I guess there is that old age debate; some people believe you shouldn't listen to the scales and just concentrate on how you look and feel, but, on the other hand, your physical weight fluctuates due to bloating and water weight etc, so it's hard to deny what the scales say.

I did try and ease back into my fitness regime during this time too, albeit very slowly. I probably managed one workout a week.

So, in conclusion, I do believe it worked - alongside a few work outs - but not in the way that other nutritional ranges had for me. I didn't feel any different, but it was clear to see that I did lose some weight.

Because of this, I would likely try this product again, especially as I believe it is worth the price: for £35.98 you can get the full breakfast kit (with the add on flax seeds, chia seeds and coconut shavings), for a 14 day supply. I do believe you get enough in the kit to last you three weeks or perhaps even a full month though.

There's also a three month shipment plan which saves you 30% and works out to £21.59 a month - however, if you cancelled after three months I'd strongly suggest you'd be left with enough 'kit' for five or six months!

What do you think? Would you give Nutribuddy a go? Let me know!

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*Please note, although I received this product free in exchange for a review, all opinions are entirely my own.


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Friday, 26 May 2017

As some of you may already know, I have recently gotten into a new relationship. Before this, I was officially single (but dated) for around five years, so it's definitely taken a lot of getting used to. For the most part, I'm not used to being looked after so well!

Although we've only been together a short time, my boyfriend and I are already comfortable talking about our future and future plans. Some of these plans include a holiday together in the summer, where we will travel to Romania (his home country) for a week, before roadtrippin' it down to Greece (if possible) for a week too.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania

Before meeting Vincent, I have to admit, Romania was never on my list of 'must travel' places - although I'd always been intrigued by the famous Dracula's castle! But since we've been together and been planning this holiday, I have changed my mind entirely. From what I've seen online (and heard from him), Romania is such a beautiful country. 

Therefore, I've spent a good few weeks scrolling through Pinterest in awe, pinning tons of places I'd like to visit. Here's what's tickled my fancy so far.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania


Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Travel Inspiration | Romania

Doesn't it all look so pretty?!

I can't wait to drive through it's vast countryside, and there's also this really famous road -  Transfăgărăşan - which is dubbed the most dramatic (and second highest paved) road in the country, which I can't wait to experience.

If I'm really honest though, I'm trying to do as little research as possible. I'm going so that my boyfriend can show me what Romania is to him - I trust him to show me the best places or the places that mean the most to him and to take me off the beaten track.

As for Greece, we have no immediate plans yet - but there are many beautiful photos I've seen drawing me to various places. In particular, we have our mind on Athens, but we really like the idea of just jumping in the car and seeing where it'll lead us. I'll be doing another post on Greece travel inspiration soon too...

And by the way, you can follow me on Pinterest here!

Please note, all images above are taken from Pinterest and you can click on each individual image to see the source - I do not own these images. The first image is taken from Pixabay.

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Monday, 22 May 2017

Days three and four of my Mexican BLT tour were spent in Palenque, which is one of the places I was most looking forward to visiting.

However, to get from Campeche to Palenque, we had to go on a long drive - seven hours, to be exact! So we stocked up on snacks, dedicated Matt to the role of DJ and we're on our way. The drive was long, to say the least, but in between napping and reading, it was nice to just gaze out the window and watch the ever-changing landscape around us.

When we finally arrived, I was blown away by our hotel. I'm not sure what happened exactly - I think we were originally going to stay in cabins in the jungle but it then got fully booked up - but instead we ended up staying in a super luxury resort in the jungle. 

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Palenque

For a long time, it seemed like we were the only ones there! With two pools, hammocks outside our rooms and a spa to enjoy, we spent day three relaxing after the long drive. The pool was absolutely amazing - the water wasn't cold, nor was it warm - it was just right. 

That evening, Delai took us to a stunning place for food called Don Muchos, which was a restaurant in the middle of the jungle. There was also other places and restaurants nearby, all connected by wooden walkways through the jungle, over bridges and such - of course I absolutely loved this! We were seated upstairs with a view overlooking the stage, where a band played Latin music and people danced traditionally. 

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Palenque

This was a really lovely and laid back evening spent drinking tequila, eating good food and playing a few hilarious drinking games. After dinner, we watched a fire show, then headed downstairs to dance to the music. The band played traditional Mexican music, as well as covers of a few English songs...and we even ended up in a Mexican dance off! I really felt like a local this evening and loved this hidden gem so much. I hope one day I can return.

The following day was one I'd been looking forward to the most - visiting the ruins of Palenque and going on a jungle tour. These activities really exceeded my expectations - the ruins of Palenque were absolutely stunning and like nothing I had ever seen before. My photos don't do them justice but it truly was an amazing site to climb up some of the ruins and gaze across at the archaeological site with the backdrop of the jungle.

It's something I'll never forget.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Palenque

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Palenque

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Palenque

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Palenque

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Palenque

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Palenque

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Palenque

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Palenque

Isn't it beautiful?!

After a brief break, we headed into the actual jungle where we learned more about the types of plants and wildlife within and the history of the ruins in the jungle. This was so cool - I honestly felt like Tomb Raider or Indiana Jones! I can't even believe I can tell people I've been into an actual jungle. It was completely off the beaten track too and I would 100% recommend a jungle tour if you're ever in Palenque.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Palenque

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Palenque

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Palenque

However, that afternoon, I had a bit of a bad time! We had the choice between going to two waterfalls and of course we chose the more dangerous one, expecting it to be high so that we could jump off it. We were wrong. 

When we arrived, it was overcrowded and we soon realized we couldn't take our actual stuff down to the natural waterfall, as we'd be starting at one end and ending at the other. So we packed the van as close as we could and had to walk down just in our swimwear with nothing on our feet. I don't think we quite anticipated what we would find at the end but the first part of the waterfall basically required us to walk down slippery rocks through the gushing water, with just a small bit of rope to hold onto. It was so scary. I think if we had the right equipment and had realized what we were really in for we might have been okay but I just found it disastrous from start to finish. Because we had no shoes on, the floor was so ridiculously slippy that we kept slipping over repeatedly. We had to hold on a lot and could have very easy of slipped down completely and just...fell/slipped down the rest of the waterfall. Two or three times I almost hit my head on the rocks too.

Although it sounds like I'm over exaggerating, it's something I would love to do under proper circumstances one day. But I didn't enjoy any of it as I didn't feel safe at all. Then it came to the area where we were supposed to jump off. I took one look at it and knew it wasn't possible.

There was just a small ledge to jump from, with thick branches jutting out beneath. It wasn't a straight down jump and would require us to jump forward OVER the thick branches, which I just didn't feel I could do. The ground was slippery from the rain the night before, so a running start (which may have helped) wasn't possible either.

Some of the group did it and I'll be honest, I felt like a complete tit for backing out. Normally I'm the first person to say 'fuck it' and do that type of thing - but even I knew my clear limits there. I knew straight away that I didn't have the capability to jump off safely. Myself and another girl made our way through the jungle to the bottom and although the view when I had a little swim was pretty, I just didn't have it in me to enjoy it.

Still, I had a kick-ass gnarly bruise from rope burn that I enjoyed showing off for the rest of the holiday.

That night, whilst the others went for a nocturnal jungle tour at a nearby zoo, Tommy, Matt, Dom and I had a nice dinner in the restaurant. I had the most amazing meal of melted cheese and chorizo in a pot with little wraps filled with tomato, onion etc and it was so good. I still haven't stopped thinking about it. We also had a hilarious incident dubbed 'lemongate' (the staff simply did not know what a lemon was) and I giggled when the waiter insisted on bringing over a coat rack for my tiny bag and lightweight shawl.

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Saturday, 20 May 2017

There's no way I can consider myself an expert on travelling just by taking one trip and I'm certainly in no position to doll out expert advice.

But despite the fact that going on my trip to Mexico was one of the scariest things I've ever done, I also learned so much whilst I was away. And I know going on a trip with a tour (though admittedly staying on alone) isn't the same as entirely packing up your life to travel the world alone, I am super proud of what I done.

Here's what I learned during my time away.

Formidable Joy | Travel | Travelling |

PACK LIGHT
This is such an obvious point - and one I'll probably get better at with practice - but my god do I wish I'd packed less. It wasn't so much that my stuff was heavy, just that I bought along so many things I didn't use and having to root through my suitcase to find what I did need each morning was just stressful - plus it ended up super messy. I bought so much crap - I even brought a bloody body/bikini chain. I've never worn a body chain in my life! I spent so long packing as well. One tip I will give is to take everything you want to bring, lay it out and then half it. I have a spare clothes rail so I hung everything on there, thinking I had a fair amount but when I looked at how much was on there, I just knew it was too much. I cut it down, but I could have cut it down more.

RESEARCH THE WEATHER
Again, this is an obvious one and it's always important to bring some clothes for other weather too. I bought a lightweight jumper and leggings, but one thing I didn't realize was just how hot it was. We didn't even go during Mexico's peak of summer. I knew it would be hot, but not humid. Therefore, most days I'd open my suitcase and couldn't be bothered to put on anything but a loose dress! Accessories were a definite no, although sometimes I chose to wear some pretty thin vest tops with skirts. Still, I really wished I'd thought to realize just how hot and humid it would be - not that I'm complaining!

BIKINI BODIES DON'T MATTER
They really don't. I definitely felt a little insecure on my way out to Mexico, but when you're having so much fun and travelling around, no one really cares about how flat your stomach is or how large your thighs are. And neither will you.

BUS DRIVERS ABROAD ARE CRAY CRAY...
But you should still do a stint on local transport at some point. Not only is it a great way to feel like a local, but it's also good for seeing areas of a place you wouldn't otherwise - driving past people's homes, through the town etc. I still remember the day we took the tram from one end of Amsterdam to the other on a trip a few years back - armed with snacks (& slightly sore heads from our hangovers!), we saw some interesting sights.

YOU STILL HAVE TO PUSH YOURSELF
When I stayed on after the tour, I purposely chose a fun hostel that had plenty of day-time and evening events, giving travellers plenty of chances to meet other people and make new friends. The first couple of times I walked down to the bar, it was petrifying seeing everyone talking to each other and having to find somewhere to sit, knowing it would be next to a stranger. As it goes, once I did, everything flowed quite well and I met some great people, but there were still moments where I found it hard to push myself to put on a confident front and socialize, so instead spent a couple of hours in my dorm. And that's okay - I've come to accept I'll never be the most outgoing person. At the time, I felt guilty that I wasn't constantly putting myself out there, but looking back now, I'm glad I took some time to myself at points because it was an exhausting holiday. But overall, I learned that even if you're thrown towards people on a tour or a hostel hosts events to meet others, there are also times where you have to dig down deep and find the confidence to really put yourself out there.

RESEARCH MONEY OPTIONS
I'm a fool with money, so I thought I did the right thing by bringing half my money in cash and the other half on a travelcard. That way, if I lost one, I had the other to rely on. I used a Travelcard company recommended by Trek America and this turned out to be a huge mistake. I will be writing a separate blog post all about this, but as it goes, it didn't work and this led to at least half my holiday being filled with worry. It worked out in the end (just about!) but I could have really of done without the stress, and it was only my boyfriend coming to the rescue by sending me some emergency money that I managed to enjoy the rest of my time in Mexico. I really wish I'd taken the time to research into travel card options myself, instead of just choosing the first one recommended.

JUST DO IT
Finally, I can't even begin to tell you how scared I was to take that chance to finally book and go - nor how proud I am for finding the guts to just do it. I had a million reasons not to go. Many things came up to try and stop me. But I persevered and I'm so happy to say I did it. I had so much fun, but it was such a big step for me. I'm even proud that I successfully got on a plane alone (and took a long-haul journey) without a) getting lost in the airport, b) getting on the wrong plane or c) getting horribly drunk on the plane to calm my nerves and missing my connecting flight.

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Monday, 15 May 2017

I know, I know.

You don't go on holiday to shop and I'm very rarely the type of person that splashes cash or spends a day shopping when I'm meant to be on holiday - after all, there are plenty of other things to do with your time, no?

But on one particularly rainy day at the hostel, a few of us decided to head to the local mall, although the boys immediately split to drink beer and us girls grabbed some lunch then had a mooch around the shops. Whilst there, I came across a shop called Pull&Bear which, can you believe, I've never heard of before?!

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Fashion | Pull&Bear

Apparently it actually originated in Europe and there's plenty of shops around the UK, none of which I've come across before. I was drawn in by their quirky instagrammable slogan tops (I'm not big on slogans, but these were too cute to resist), H&M quality shabby-chic clothing and some edgy tops. I actually spent ages browsing and tried on so much - and I was really impressed with the sizing. 

Everything seemed to fit really well or even seemed to be a bit baggy which is always good as I hate it when I go into a shop and their sizes come up really small. I only purchased three things but I'm already on the hunt for a close-by shop near home to buy more..

Anyway. Here's what I brought.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Fashion | Pull&Bear

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Fashion | Pull&Bear

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Fashion | Pull&Bear

First up is this gorgeous lightweight loose top. I've been after something like this for so long, especially as it's such a wardrobe staple. I see lots of women wearing tops like this out and about, with skinny fit jeans, a leather jacket and a messy bun and I absolutely love that laid-back stylish chic look. So I'm so pleased I've finally got one of my own. It's a little see-through, but I think that's fine as it's that kind of top. I wore this on my first day back from holiday with skinny fit jeans, sandals and a bunch of jewellery - definitely still channelling the holiday vibe.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Fashion | Pull&Bear

Next is this sweet slightly preppy long sleeved top. I've really been digging the jersey style tops lately with coloured sleeves, so that's definitely what drawn me to this top. I didn't pay much attention to what the actual slogan said but when I wore this to the bank recently I actually got complimented on it, haha. It's really casual and lightweight and so easily to just roll out of bed and throw on. It's great for the current season too where it's too cold for a full on sleeveless top but too hot for a jumper. Again, I've just paired this with jeans so far and a pair of white Primark pumps.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Fashion | Pull&Bear

Finally I also bought this cute 'bite back' top. It's a little cheeky but hey, it's not sprawled out over the front of the top and is only little so I think it's okay. Again, it has a bit of a preppy girl gang feel to it, but a more sophisticated one as opposed to the type of slogans you'd wear as a teenager. I haven't worn this yet but I imagine I'll vamp it up a bit when I do - maybe I'll pair it with wet look leggings and a leather jacket for a gig.

I'm really digging this brand right now, it's cheeky yet sophisticated and I'm definitely pleased with the above purchases - I think, once working out the currency difference, all three tops only cost me around £30 which is such a bargain, especially as they're such good quality too.

What do you think? Have you ever shopped at Pull&Bear? Let me know!

You can also find me on


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Saturday, 13 May 2017

Here is the second instalment of my posts all about my recent trip to Mexico! You can read part one here...

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Ruins Of Uxmal

DAY TWO | RUINS OF UXMAL AND CAMPECHE
The following day we visited the ruins of Uxmal (official name Zona Arqueológica de Uxmal) which were also impressive - especially as we could climb some of them which led to some amazing photos! The climb was also a lot higher than we thought and going back down again was a little scary once we realized how high and steep it was.

Although the ruins of Uxmal is officially a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we chose not to have a guide at this particular site and instead decided to wander around the ruins at our own pace. I don't think we missed too much by doing it this way; it was such a large site with so much to see and ruins dotted everywhere, that we felt we took in enough just by exploring ourselves.

We did come across another game court though, so we already knew the history of game courts from the previous day.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Ruins Of Uxmal

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Ruins Of Uxmal

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Ruins Of Uxmal

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour

Not long after we were done, our guide took us to an on site swimming pool and hotel. The pool was deserted so after all that climbing, we slipped in to cool down, drank some cocktails in the pool before residing to some sunbathing. This was our first taste of luxury - enjoying cocktails in the refreshing water and then doing a little bit of sunbathing, which was well deserved after two days of climbing!

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour

We had a delicious lunch, before beginning our drive to Campeche.

Campeche was gorgeous. Again, we ended up in a really sweet hotel, this time small but so chic. Just after reception there was a tiny courtyard with a water feature and iron tables and chairs then, on the second floor/the roof of the first floor, the most perfect seating area. We dumped our stuff and headed into Campeche for another walk and I found myself particularly in awe of the bright buildings and the colourful graffiti. The street art and graffiti around Mexico is seriously stunning and I can't believe nobody offers any graffiti tours telling the story behind them. Campeche is right by the sea with old buildings, rusty cannons and ruins. We stopped along the sea front for one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen in my life. It blew the famous Ibiza sunset out of the water!


Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Campeche

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Campeche

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Travel | Mexico | Trek America | Trek America Mexican BLT Tour | Campeche

We then headed back to the hotel and chilled on the roof for a few hours, drinking and chatting. I'll go into more detail about the Trek America tour overall in another post, but I will say, the company is great at making sure similar minded people end up on tours together. It was so nice to sit beneath the stars and chat away. Eventually we grew hungry and dipped into a nearby restaurant for dinner where we got to wear some sombreros! I also had the most delicious avocado filled with prawns. We then headed back to the hotel and to bed, but not before being caught in a quick downpour in the process! At this point this evening we also found the most gorgeous outdoor square with live music and live bands - how lovely.

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Thursday, 11 May 2017

Or, at least my take on a step-by-step guide to becoming a fan.

In case you haven't already heard, Twenty One Pilots are a band that are currently taking the world by storm.

They're currently on a 100+ date world tour (aptly named The Emotional Roadshow), featuring shows in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the US. They have a worldwide fanbase who call themselves The Skeleton Clique. They were the first band to have two number ones on two different charts (Ride on Pop Songs and Heathens on Alternative Songs) - oh and did I mention, Heathens was the lead single for the hugely successful Suicide Squad?

But, I get it. Not everyone is a fan. If I hear about a band too much then I instantly switch off and refuse to listen. So I'm not going to force you. However, if you enjoy rock/punk/indie and maybe even ska music - let me tell you, it won't hurt to give them a chance.

But we have to do it right. You can't become a fan by listening to the same song over and over again. You need to be introduced the right way - and I'm here to help you on your journey. 

Let's begin.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Music | Twenty One Pilots | twenty one pilots | top | Joshua Dun | Tyler Joseph

ONE
Let's start with Holding Onto You. This upbeat gem is a personal favourite of mine; the kind of song you can't help but sing along to at the top of your voice. But although it might be easy listening, by the time you're midway into the song, you're already getting used to the unique selling point of Twenty One Pilots. The band mix upbeat and almost poppy choruses with foot tapping beats (courtesy of drummer Joshua Dun) and impressive rapping (thanks to lead singer, Tyler Joseph), already proving that they're just that bit different than anything on the charts right now. And if you want to, spend some time listening to the lyrics and trying to understand them. Soon you'll see that they're a stark contrast to the feel of the song, which is another distinct talent of this band - happy sounding songs are usually anything but, and likewise, those sad and emotional ones can actually be incredibly uplifting and inspiring thanks to the lyrics.


TWO
Next, we'll go a little bit more into the basis of the band with Stressed Out. Here, with a slower beat, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this is a lowkey rap song. It's anything but, and you'll soon hear it resonate with you in terms of what people feel as they grow up. Although you've likely heard this a lot, this song is almost pivotal for understanding the basis of their 2015 album, Blurryface, because it's in this song that the character is first introduced. Blurryface is a 'character' or 'persona' based around Tyler's insecurities, and when you see him on stage with black hands, a black neck and often elements of red elsewhere, you now know why. This is the persona he takes on stage with him, and the basis for the album.

THREE
Let's lighten up a little now and listen to Tear In My Heart. There's not a whole lot to say about this one, except it's probably one of only a few love songs penned by the band. You'll come to understand that this band can get deep and focus on subjects other than just love, but this right here is just a pure and fun love song.

FOUR
Lane Boy is next. You've likely heard this a thousand times on the radio already but perhaps now that you understand the band a little bit better and the type of music they offer, you might appreciate it in a different light...


Or perhaps not.

FIVE
So, if not, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest Hometown. This is another song entirely different to most genres and elements found in their music but I'll be damned if it doesn't get me everytime. The best way to experience this is with your eyes closed, headphones on and music loud. You'll soon wish you were on a beach somewhere, enjoying a crazy rave. I still hope one day to experience this song live.

SIX
You're probably ready to sing now, so Heart Of Gold is next. The song was written for Tyler's mum, and this stripped back and almost acoustic song (pretty much written with just a ukelele) will have you joining in and singing by the second chorus. The lyrics are easy to understand and remember, and you won't have to make a tit of yourself trying to rap along.

SEVEN
Here's where things are going to get a bit more deep as we go back to some of there older stuff. Car Radio is an absolute gem among fans - it's fun to rap to (once you get the hang of it), it's got a bass drop that is just Spot. On. (and amazing to experience live!), and, if you allow it to, it can be incredibly emotional. With lyrics such as 'Sometimes, quiet is violent' and 'Oh dear, I don't know if we know why we're here, am I too deep, please stop thinking', the song actually does get you thinking and will hit you on another level. Plus, it's super awesome to actually listen to in the car.


EIGHT
Guns For Hands is another deceiving one. It sounds happy, it feels good when you listen to it, but of course, it's about kids turning to pain, self harm or suicide. The song offers hope for fans, and suggests that the band themselves struggle to sleep at night, worrying about what their fans might do. It also has an ace ska-like bridge, proving once again, that there's no end to the type of genres and styles this band will explore.

NINE
Finally, to complete the emotional journey, I'd personally end with Trees, but if you want to end on a high, I'd suggest ending with the previous track. Trees makes little sense to me, I have tried to understand it many times but I don't think I'm quite ready for the explanation yet. It's emotional, it'll likely make you cry, but I can tell you now, if you've followed these steps and you've ended with this song, you will now be a fan of the band.

I hope.

Other noteworthy songs worth listening to: Before You Start Your Day, Kitchen SinkMigraine and a sweet cover of Can't Help Falling In Love.


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Please note, this blog post was just a bit of fun, spurred on from a Snapchat conversation I had when joking around with a friend and trying to turn them into a fan of the band. I always liked the idea of creating playlists based around one particular artist and especially the idea of picking out a band's best music for a new fan. For example, if I'd heard Lane Boy for the first time before already being a fan, I likely would have turned the radio over and quickly grown tired of it; I've never been a huge fan of rap music and even I can admit that the song has been overplayed on the radio. But by listening to other songs first, I have become a huge fan and feel that other songs would suit a 'new fan' to ease them in slowly when trying to discover/enjoy a new artist. I also struggle with this myself and have a long, long list of artists I want to get into but simply don't know where to start...!

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