In case you haven’t already heard, my boyfriend and I are planning to move in together. It’s early days yet as we still need to save and find somewhere, but the hunt is on and boy am I excited.

I’ve only ever lived with a boyfriend once in my life and I’m not sure that entirely counts because a) it was actually into a shared house where we still had our own rooms/space if we needed to, b) we lived with creepy housemates and c) we only moved in together out of convenience. 
Well I’m nearing 30 now, half my purchases go on homeware as opposed to clothes and, well, my boyfriend and I only drive each other slightly mad when we spend tons of time together. He gets annoyed when I don’t wash the dishes properly (apparently I leave them to dry when there’s still washing up liquid on them) and I get annoyed when he leaves crumbs in the bed or wet towels on the bed.
All normal arguments, am I right?
Anyway. There’s so much that I’m looking forward to so I thought it would be nice to do a blog post about it.

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CHRISTMAS
Yes, I’m sorry to bring that dreaded word up so soon and even though at this rate we wont be living together until the new year, I’m still super excited for our first Christmas together/first Christmas in our new place, especially for things like decorating the tree (that will never be as good as my mum’s!), Christmas feasts and movie binges. Oh, and a vegan Christmas dinner of course.
COOKING IN WHATEVER I WANT
My boyfriend said I’m not allowed to cook naked because I am the world’s most clumsy person, but now that we don’t live alone, I hate the fact that I can’t roll out of bed looking rough as f*ck and stumble into the kitchen to make breakfast. I mean I still wear lazy clothes and that, but I always wear a bra to avoid getting caught out by his flatmates.

BUYING ADULT STUFF
To be fair, I’ve already bought a laundry basket, a mirror, storage bags and a laundry basket for his room (and next I have my eye on a rug) but shopping for home stuff is JUST SO FUN. I now realize why I love The Sims so much. I can actually play it like IN REAL LIFE by decorating my own damn place. Unfortunately I don’t think my boyfriend will agree with my luxurious gothic bathroom with black walls idea, but I’m sure we can compromise.

A BATH
Okay we have a shower over a bathtub here and I have a bath at home so I swear I do wash, but I can’t wait to have somewhere with a proper bath (as in without a shower over it). I’m going to stock up on so many Lush products and really nice candles and sh*t.
Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | 10 reasons why I'm excited to move in with my boyfriend | Love | Personal | Kit Out My Office
MY OWN BLOGGING SPACE

I actually finally have my own blogging space here, but currently at my desk I have the beautiful view of a curtain or, er, ASDA. To be able to push my desk against a wall and cover it in inspiring prints is THE DREAM. But I do totally love my current blogging space too.

MOVIE MARATHONS
Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones…the list is endless. In fact we’re already planning to throw our first binge-party this Halloween with a Stranger Things viewing party. It’s not quite the same in his small room with limited seating, but we’ll manage. Then when we have our own place, we can go all out with themed food and decorations and such.

And speaking of parties…

A HOUSEWARMING PARTY

I have not had a house party in YEARS. I feel far too old to be bothered with putting on heels and going on a night out but good drink, good music and better company in the comfort of my own home sounds AMAZING. And since my boyfriend is a bartender, we’re totally going to get one of those cool drink trolleys that you always see on Pinterest.
THE SANDWICH OF JUSTICE
My boyfriend taught me how to make this amazing Sandwich Of Justice and call me the total opposite of a feminist but I can’t wait to make it (with or without his help) for all our friends on a hungover morning. Seriously. This is one of the reasons I love my boyfriend. At the discovery of this sandwich all I could see was our future together and living together, having friends crash over after a night out (or in! See previous point…) and making hangover food like the SOJ for everyone the morning after. Is that weird? I don’t care…
HAVING A HOMEBASE
Yes, I spend more time here than at my own home right now, but for those days in between, it is an absolute b*tch dragging a big bag full of makeup and my laptop on and off the bus/to work. I’ll have another car soon so that will make it a bit easier, but it can still get ever so confusing living between two places. I still don’t know where my fitbit charger/favourite bra is currently. Who knows if I’ll ever find out…
LIVING WITH MY BOYFRIEND
Finally, the reason why I’m most excited is just that I’ll get to live with the person I love. I get to go to sleep next to him every night (apart from when he chooses to be a geek and stay up gaming, haha) and wake up with him every morning. I get to have breakfast with him (when I eat breakfast) and dinner every night. We get to choose a flat and make it a home together and create a future together. And as soppy as it makes me, that’s the best part of it all.

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As mentioned in my previous post, during our visit to Brighton, my boyfriend and I made sure we stopped at Purezza for dinner.
I’d heard plenty of times that Brighton is great for vegan food (and it is!) and Purezza was one place I constantly heard great things about; in fact it was one of the places I was most excited to visit in Brighton.
Purezza was actually the UK’s first plant based Italian restaurant and offers raw food as well as pizzas in a pizza wood fire and other food. It was also the first vegan pizzeria in the UK when it was founded back in 2015. The restaurant is based just a short walk away from the seafront and is a quaint little place.

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We were surprised at how small it was but this is by no means a bad thing. We were welcomed immediately upon arriving and found the place to offer a really relaxed atmosphere. Staff were friendly and easy to talk to, as well as more than helpful.
We ordered so much food; for starters we had garlic bread (with delicious melted cheese! It’s always a win in our books when we find somewhere that offers vegan cheese…), focaccia strips with a dip selection (hummus, pesto and caramelised beet/onion), and cheesy bites. It was all ever so delicious, and the caramelised beet/onion dip was surprisingly tasty.

For mains, we each went for a pizza. I chose the Portobello Road, which offered toppings such as mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, rocket salad and a mushroom sauce, whereas Vincent went for the ‘meaty’ Fumosa: chestnut mushrooms, smoked beet & fried tofu, topped with BBQ sauce. Yum yum.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the toppings such as smoked beet and sundried tomato looked like meat at first glance and with so much packed onto each pizza, we barely noticed any lack of meat. Much like when I eat my fake sausages, I find it’s all to do with the presentation; if it looks like meat then you rarely notice the difference.

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I tried only a bit of my boyfriends pizza but mine was delicious. It was tasty and filling and had a whole lot of flavour. We often do mushroom pizza at home, but I’d never thought of topping it with sundried tomatoes. I can see us re-creating this pizza at home.

Also, I have to give a shout out to the menu. With pizza names like Cheesus, Popeye and Pesto Manifesto, it gave the establishment a quirky and fun twist which I loved. We kind of want to go back and try each pizza one by one…

We couldn’t finish our food so took some of our pizzas to go, as well as some dessert Tiramisu and a brownie. I actually never got round to trying these in the end but I was assured by my boyfriend that they were delicious.

Everything was super affordable and I can’t tell you how great it was to binge on delicious food that seemed unhealthy in thought but was actually really good for us.

If you’re ever in the Brighton area, I’d definitely recommend popping to Purezza for some delicious vegan food.

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Last week my boyfriend and I took a mini trip down to Brighton.
The main reason was to go and see my fave band, The Maine, as Vincent had never really been to a proper rock gig before (only a festival), and obviously going to gig’s is one of my favourite things in the world so I thought it would be nice to go.
I usually see them in London but we figured why not go to the Brighton date instead and make a trip out of it? Well, I did, anyway. Vincent did get rather annoyed when I informed him that train tickets and a hotel were more expensive than originally planned and he admitted he thought we were only going for the day (as in coming back after the gig). Apparently it didn’t occur to him that when I asked him to book two days off work, it would involve staying overnight and he thought it was just incase we were hungover..!
Anyway. We headed off from Luton station on Monday morning and arrived to somewhat warm weather just a couple of hours later.
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The first thing we did was check into our room at Ei8ht apartments, a cute townhouse that offers serviced apartments and rooms pretty much a stone’s throw from the seafront. We were really pleased with our room; it was small but really quaint and cosy and great for the price too!
We threw our stuff into the room and then took a short walk towards the beach before descending onto the pier. We mooched around for a bit, enjoying the view and having a few games in the arcade where Vincent shamelessly beat me at Dance Revolution. I used to be obsessed with the game as a kid, so it’s kind of our tradition to play one whenever we see it. We also walked to the end of the pier to admire the view and had a go on a couple of rides too.
After, we headed into central Brighton via the Lanes. We popped into Choccywoccydoodah to marvel at the displays and browsed a couple of other shops before exploring Snoopers Paradise. We didn’t buy anything, but enjoyed rummaging around nonetheless.
By the time we were done, we were starving so we headed off to this amazing vegan restaurant called Purezza. We’d heard great things about it – and it didn’t disappoint. I’d love to write all about it but I’ll instead be doing a separate review post on this!
After we stuffed our faces with delicious food, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the gig. Doors weren’t until seven though and we were exhausted so managed to sneak in a quick nap before getting ready! It had been a while since I’d been a gig, so I took my time perfecting my ‘rocker’ look, with smokey eyeshadow, a deep purple lipstick and cute space buns.
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The gig was held at The Haunt, which is the same place where I saw The Maine a few years back. We arrived to hear the last couple of songs of The Technicolours set, and then checked out Night Riots. I was ecstatic when they played a song I actually knew and liked – I hadn’t realized it was by them so it was nice that I knew a song!
Next The Maine boys came on and they did not disappoint. They put on a good show as usual, but I was sad that they didn’t play some of my all time favourites. Still, it was still an amazing show, even if I did feel old when at least four different girls came up to me to say hello and note that they recognised me from past tours!
Oh how times have changed. Though younger than me, nearly all of them are still doing tour after tour, whereas in this case I was actually at the gig during a mini break with my boyfriend. Remembering the old days, I quickly downed a beer in cheers of my old groupie self, knowing that now that I’m on the wrong side of 25, my groupie days are long over.
The following morning we headed to the seafront for some classic seaside chips. Whilst Vincent practiced his skating (he recently purchased a longboard), I relaxed with the peace around me and read a book. This was probably one of my favourite parts of the mini break; just kicking back and enjoying the atmosphere and peace!
Shortly afterwards, Vincent beat me yet again with a game of crazy golf, we met up with a friend for lunch at another sweet vegan cafe, Wai Kika Moo Kau, had another final mooch around the shops and then headed back to the station to catch our train.

Also, oddly enough, we had GREAT weather. Apart from tons of rain on the Monday night (when we were inside anyway), it was actually kinda warm. I’d bought myself a new parka jacket, expecting to get a lot of use out of it during our time in Brighton but on the Tuesday I barely even worn it! So we were really lucky with the weather too.

At the time, I didn’t realized we packed so much in but writing about it now made me realize we got up to a fair bit, even though we didn’t have time to do all the stuff we wanted like visit the Penny Arcade and such.
Still, we had a lot of fun and I enjoyed taking my boyfriend to Brighton for the first time and to his first rock gig. I love Brighton because it’s so close by that even just a day visit is viable, so there’s no doubt we’ll be heading back soon.
Have you been to Brighton lately? Let me know with a comment!
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Recently, I’ve been very open about my experiences of online dating.

There was once a time when I was slightly ashamed of it and wouldn’t even tell my friends, but then apps like Tinder and Plenty Of Fish came on the scene and all of a sudden everyone was a lot more open about it and the idea of meeting strangers online became the norm.
I also realized that it’s something a lot of us have been doing for a lot of years anyway and meeting strangers (safely!) online kind of goes hand in hand with our generation; we’ve made friends on Myspace, bloggers like myself have bonded via Twitter then met at blogging events in real life and I’ve even discovered bands online which have led me to meeting some awesome people.
There is still a bit of stigma around it though and I can sort of see why. I used to have the notion that if I told people I was online dating, they might think it’s because I’m not pretty enough or approachable enough to meet men in real life. I definitely do not think that anymore though as I soon realized that everyone and their dog was on some form of dating website anyway!
But I digress. Here’s some benefits of online dating if you’re single but still a little cautious about giving it a go.
Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | 7 benefits of online dating | Online dating | Dating
YOU CAN MEET SO MANY GREAT PEOPLE
…even when it doesn’t evolve into a relationship. Online dating is pretty great I guess in a way that you sort of already forge some form of connection before meeting in real life and that connection doesn’t just go away if things don’t work out, so many people often go on to become friends afterwards. This wouldn’t happen if you just gave your number to someone in a club. Similarly, you could also make contacts this way. I’ve made contacts in music, graphic design and photography in the past, which is pretty cool.
DATING IS FUN!
For a while, I used online dating apps and websites just to go on dates and not necessarily for a relationship. This led to some real fun dates which is often one of the best parts of being single. Some of my most fun dates included going to an Arctic Monkey’s gig, spending the day along Southend seafront and drinks at the quirky underground 1940’s themed bar, Cahoots. 
IT HELPS GET YOU OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
I used to be so shy and that’s part of the reason why I turned to online dating. I could never approach a guy unless I was drunk and on a night out, but online I found myself coming across as super confident and this paid off in my favour. I think this helped me become more outgoing in real life too, especially as the messages exchange online often led to meeting in real life. Also, heading down to Southend to meet a stranger for a first date was way out of my comfort zone, but it paid off and I ended up dating said guy for around six months. 
YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY IF YOU DON’T WANT TO
Even though I know plenty of people that have forged relationships through the use of Tinder, it is still an app that is often considered the most playful of all of them and you’re never judged for whatever you’re looking for on there. If you don’t want a serious relationship or just want to dip your toe into the world of online dating, apps like Tinder can always lead to a bit of fun!
…BUT IT DEFINITELY WORKS TOO
Strangely enough, I’ve had more relationships/’dated’ more people online than I’ve had ‘single first dates’ (if that makes sense), which is weird when a lot of people think online dating is used for people looking for just one thing. I’ve been with my boyfriend for just under seven months now and in that time we’ve gone to Blackpool, Brighton and even Romania together (I’d never have seen myself visiting such a beautiful country before meeting Vincent!) and are super happy and in love. The proof is in the pudding = online dating does work.
THERE’S SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Want your friend to set up your profile for you and find some dates? There’s a website for that. Actually looking for something long term and serious rather than just fun? Take your pick of many websites aimed at those being a bit more serious with their choices. You can also find websites such as a Bedfordshire dating site (perfect if you really want to look local), over 50s dating, over 50s dating Northamptonshire, and, again websites that are more area specific; a Tayside dating site and over 50s dating Tayside. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s bound to be a website or app for you.
AND YOU CAN STILL BE ENTIRELY SAFE
Meeting strangers these days isn’t what it used to be. A lot of websites do necessary checks when allowing people to sign up and you usually get a good feel of a person and their character before meeting in person. That said, many websites recommend some safety measures too, such as meeting in a public place and letting someone know beforehand where you’re going to be. Like I said, luckily it’s more accepted these days so there should be no embarrassment with telling a friend that you’re off on a date with someone you met online, and lots of people have a get-out plan with their friend in case the date isn’t going as well as planned! Plus, who can forget that bar from St Albans that went viral last year for the notices in their toilets offering daters a subtle way to leave the bar in case they felt any unease on their date…
Will you be giving online dating a go or have you in the past? Let me know with a comment!
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*Please note, this is a sponsored post but all views and opinions are entirely my own.

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I’ve wanted to be (or be with, at least) a rock star for as long as I can remember and music is one of my biggest passions. I have the uttermost respect for those who have that talent to create music but unfortunately, despite a failed attempt at learning guitar when I was younger (I learned two songs on it before giving up on practicing), I don’t have that talent.
That said, I have always wanted to learn another instrument after my failed attempt of learning guitar and I’ve been leaning towards drums for a good few years now. I think I’m pretty good at rhythm and I do Pound Fitness, which I’ve been told doesn’t make you good at drumming at all but is still kind of similar.
So when AB Music Academy got in touch and asked if I wanted to give one of their trial sessions, I couldn’t say no. 
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The company is based in Acton (in West London) and at their quant studio they offer both vocal and instrumental tuition, as well as hosting live events, performances and workshops. Students have also gone on to create bands, and the studio can also be used for recordings and rehearsals as well as lessons.
I headed down on Wednesday and found the studio easy to find in a quiet part of London. There were many train problems that day however, with a few delays, but if this hadn’t been an issue then the journey would have been relatively simple. 
Though Acton is a long way from Luton, anyone based in London will find the studio easy to get to and not too far at all. 
My taster session took place with co-founder Florin Pascu, who greeted me warmly and first spent some time telling me a little bit about the studio and what they offer there. He then taught me some basics of drumming, such as what parts of the huge drum kit I’d be using during my session (Hi-Hat, Snare Drum & Bass Drum), and briefly explained to me how to read some basic music.
Reading music sounds super complicated but he made it seem really easy. Of course we only went over a few basics so that I could learn a relatively simple beat, but I felt like I took a lot away from it and hadn’t expected to actually learn how to read a bit of music during my short taster session.
Next, I was given some headphones to protect my ears and Florin taught me how to hold the drum sticks correctly. He explained that when playing drums, it sounds best when your hands are relaxed rather than stiff.
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Then it was time to actually drum. We took it slow, getting used to using just the Hi-Hat first, before slowly adding the bass and snare drum. It took me a few goes to put it all together of course, but it wasn’t long before I settled into a rhythm. 
I found the best way was to not think too much and let my hands do what they’re supposed to; often I made a mistake when I was overthinking things. But of course this is natural being that I was learning a new tune.
By the time the half an hour was up I’d pretty much gotten it and felt really pleased. Even now I can remember the beat in my head and want to practice!
Florin even said that it was clear I could pick up the rhythm quickly and recommended I come back; so at least I wasn’t a complete failure.
Will I continue?
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I think I definitely will. I enjoyed and learned enough in such a short time to feel confident that I can continue learning and will go far, but of course London is rather far for me to travel for regular drumming lessons.
AB Music Academy offer lots of great deals on bulk lessons however and I really love that they offer taster sessions which means you don’t waste a lot of money booking lessons when you’re not even sure how well you’re going to take to an instrument. It’s a really sweet deal.
I’ll be continuing lessons perhaps maybe monthly, but overall I was very impressed. I’ve held back from looking into lessons before as I thought I might find studio’s too professional or lessons too expensive, but this wasn’t the case here. My taster session was very relaxed and informal and when I messed up, Florin was encouraging as opposed to judgemental.
For anyone that has even a small interest or flicker of passion to learn an instrument, I’d 100% recommend booking a taster session (and hopefully regular lessons after that!) with AB Music Academy. 
I learned so much during such a short time and think it’s amazing that by spending just half an hour with the academy, I was already sold on the idea that drums are the instrument for me.
Would you ever pick up a new instrument? Let me know!
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