The pressure to do it all - it's ok to say no





Outfit:
Hot pink coat: ASOS (similar)
Black ruffle shirt: Zara (similar)
Distressed blue denim skinny jeans: George at ASDA (similar)
Gold pointed midi heels: ASOS (similar)

As much as times have changed over the years, there's still the age-old expectation of being a women and what it entails. It's something that I've been thinking a lot about since I've entered the last year of my twenties. Social pressures increase and people start implying and making comments about issues that I really have no interest in talking about with them. Everyone and their uncle Jack seems to have an opinion about everything you should be doing. The pressure almost becomes unbearable.

As a woman I do feel there is the pressure to absolutely boss it at work, give our all to both family and friend relationships, keep our homes ticking over as well as be independent and do the things that matter to us. We're expected to literally be superwoman and there's something wrong with us if we don't fulfil it. But there are only 24 hours in a day. And sometimes, this really just isn't possible. I feel like the pressure society puts us under makes me do a half-arsed job. I feel like I'm not actually giving anything my full attention and as a result I find myself running around like a headless chicken.  Then I feel like even more of a failure because nothing is being done to the best of a ability. It's so hard to hold your hands up and admit that you really can't do everything.

It's ok to re-evaluate, take a step back and say no. It doesn't make you lazy, it doesn't make you unappreciative and it doesn't make you a failure.  Think about what is important to you and not about what is important for society. If you don't want to do the washing up for a week and would prefer to go out to the pub with friends, then that's your decision. Who cares if your house is a little messy when you're living your best life enjoying the two for one bottles of prosecco on a Monday night?  It's ok to prioritise one thing above the other. It's also ok to ask for help if you need it. We all need a little helping hand at one point or another. It's what makes us human.


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Three places to visit in France that aren't Paris

I seem to be in the minority but Paris isn't really my jam. I'll continue to go as it's only a train journey away and I can't stay in the UK for too long. But I wasn't really that fussed about France until I started exploring other places. Now? I can't get enough! Here are three places to visit in France that aren't Paris. The capital city isn't everything!




Marseille
Marseille was the city that made me fall in love with France.  It could have been the beautiful blue skies but I absolutely adored it. In the centre, Le Panier is full of winding side streets with multi-coloured buildings just begging to get lost in. It's full of quirky independent shops and cute bars and cafes, perfect for losing a few hours of your day. Vieux Port is a great place to settle on a bench and watch the world go by before finding somewhere to fill your bellies. We had a wonderful lunch at La Poulpe, the set lunchtime menus in France really are fantastic. Make sure you head to the French African quarter of Noailles for somewhere a little different. Here you'll find delicious looking food and shops selling wonderful knick knacks you didn't realise you wanted.




Bordeaux
If you want a few days away from everyday life with incredible food and wine then book a flight to Bordeaux pronto. With architecture similar to Paris, it does have a fairly Parisian vibe but a lot cheaper. It's one of those places where you can spend as little or as much as you want and still have a great time. It's not a very big place so just wander where your feet take you. Half the fun is not knowing where you're going to end up. Wine enthusiasts should check out Cité Du Vin which takes you through the science of wine - you even get a taster at the end.




Côte d'Azur coast
Oh my this coastline made me do the heart eye emoji from the moment I clapped eyes on it. I was only there for a weekend so just got to know Sanary-Sur-Mer and Hyerés. Surrounded by palm trees and clear blue skies, I could hardly believe this was so close to home. Walking around it felt like I was in a type of DisneyLand. We stumbled across pastel coloured buildings, men selling the catch of the day on the edge of the sea and a bustling farmers market filled with deliciously plump vegetables, creamy cheeses and tempting biscuits. I'd love to hire a care and drive along the coast for week, stopping at the beautiful seaside towns along the way.
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How to do a gallery wall in your living room


Corner sofa: DFS*, Grey floor lamp: IKEA, Custard Cream cushion: Nikki McWilliams, Wire lampshade: IKEA, Mustard throw: H&M, Grey, navy and mustard cushion: Sainsbury's, Gin cushion:  Matalan

We first came up with the idea in Copenhagen two years to start collecting prints from every city we visit with the view to create a gallery wall when we moved out. We haven't managed to pick up a print in every city but we've got a great collection so far. I love having a mementos from trips we've been on as I'm a sucker for picking up a souvenir. They catch my eye and I'm immediately taken back to that walk along the river in Derry or the music festival we went to in Budapest. Here are my tips on how to create a gallery wall in your living room.

1. Choose a theme
We went for travel as it is something we're both so passionate about. If I'm honest, I never stop thinking about where to go on holiday! By choosing a theme I feel it helps to inject some of your personality into your house. Everyone always comments in the gallery wall when they visit and it's an immediate conversation starter. My friend Hannah has a music wall filled with posters from her favourite bands and gigs. It looks great and really does sum up her personality.

2. Pick different sizes
We've gone for a variety of sizes in prints in different colour frames. It helps to make it so much more interesting and much more of a statement. You want your gallery wall to make an impact as soon as you enter the room. Our frames come from both IKEA and Wilko. As we have white walls, we opted for a trio of colours to help make the prints stand out.


3. Lay them out on the floor
Before you take the plunge, make sure you lay them all out on the floor. Take pictures of different combinations so you can really study them before making up your mind. It's a big commitment to put a hole in the wall so make sure you 100% know what you want.

4. Leave room to add
If you choose a big space, arrange the prints so that it looks finished but also has room to add some more. I feel like a gallery wall is an ongoing project that can be added to as and when you fancy. We arranged our prints in the middle so we have enough room at the sides and below to add some more. We going to keep an eye out for some postcards on our next trips to try and fill some of the smaller spaces.

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A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

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sophie.warner89@yahoo.co.uk.

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