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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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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Recently, I finally got ink. My first ever tattoo. This comment is startling to read because of two reasons. First of all, I’ve always admired tattoos and wanted one of my own, so I simply can’t believe that I waited until 25 years of age to get one. Secondly, because I was SO DAMN PETRIFIED beforehand that I can’t even believe I went through with it.
This might seem a bit over dramatic, but there isn’t really much you can say to comfort someone when getting their first tattoo because the fear really is in the unknown. I was told countless times that it wouldn’t hurt that much, that the pain would be like tiny scratches, that it would be over before I know it. 
This did not help.
But now only after getting my first tattoo do I realize how right these people were..but of course beforehand when I was so nervous, I couldn’t think rationally like that. The fear came from not knowing what to expect and not knowing what the pain would be like since everyone’s pain threshold is different of course.

My thought process on the day was roughly along the lines of this..

– MY FIRST EVER TATTOO. BRING IT ON.
– Oh no, I’m getting scared now.
– Oh sh*t, what if I faint? What if it’s horribly painful? What if I bleed to death?
– Okay, deep breaths, deep breaths. Everyone gets tattoos. It can’t be that bad.
– He’s just asked me if I’m ready. DO I LOOK BLOODY READY?! No, I’m definitely not ready.
– Okay, I’m ready.
– He’s starting!
– Hey. that doesn’t even look like a needle..
– Okay, here we go…
– ….
– ….
– Huh?!
– Um, is that it?!

And so on. I mean I’m not going to lie. SOME bits were a little painful but really not in a way I couldn’t handle.

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I think I look terribly bored in this photo!
So if anyone is planning to get their first tattoo, my advice to you would be this –
– Yes, no matter what people say, you’re still going to be nervous as hell. But, I have a really low pain threshold and trust me when I say, it didn’t hurt all that much at all. No, you don’t know what to expect, but I guarantee you when you do feel the tattooist start, you’ll be surprised at how little the pain is.
– Make sure you eat beforehand and have something sugary to drink too. It’s important to keep your sugar levels up because it’s amazing how faint you can feel just by being nervous. Go figure.
– Remember it will without a doubt be worth it in the end. Your tattoo is going to look so, so pretty. And what no one told me is how damn proud you’ll be of yourself for going through with it all. 
– You might even like the pain or the adrenaline rush in a weird way!
– Pick your tattoo wisely and do research about your tattoo artist – yada yada yada. You probably know all this anyway.
– I’m not the type of person to insist every single tattoo simply must mean something deep to you but for your first, it’ll help. I actually had a different ‘first tattoo’ in mind but never had the guts to get it done. When my brother, my sister and I decided on a matching tattoo in memory of my mum, I knew 100% that I wasn’t going to back out. This really, really helped with the nerves because I knew it would be worth it even more then any other tattoo. If there’s a tattoo you have in mind for someone special or something you want matching with family members, this would be perfect for your first.
– Once you’re 100% sure about what you want, get booked in ASAP. In fact, do it really last minute if you can to avoid minimal worry. Just do it!
– On aftercare – it’s not that bad either. As long as you’re aware of your tattoo (it might seem a little sore or sensitive at first so just try not to knock it), there should be no pain at all. It won’t itch too much either as long as you keep it moisturized and look after it well.
It might seem silly writing a post about getting your first tattoo that people have written thousands of times before, but to be honest, when I was nervous I didn’t want to read a post about aftercare or words reminding me to think my tattoo through. I’d already done that. I just wanted to read something that made me feel a little less scared and a little more confident.
I hope this post might have helped do that for some of you.
Now, I’m off to research ideas for my next tat already…
What do you think? Have you always been too scared to have a tattoo or did you breeze through your first one? Let me know with a comment!
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There’s no doubt that we’ve all had ‘one of those days’. A lot. Or weekends, weeks or even more. Sometimes you just get days where everything goes wrong – you head to work with a hangover and no sleep and after that every little thing that goes wrong makes it feel like the end of the world. And the worst part is, you get even more upset over stupid little stuff that normally wouldn’t happen, and then you feel even worse for getting upset over something so trivial. I hate those days – doesn’t everyone? You just want the day to be over.
How are you supposed to deal with it without tearing your hair out or snapping at everyone in the process? If spending the day in bed just isn’t an option (and don’t we all wish it was…) here are some ideas to make *those* days just a little bit more bearable..
  • Think about what’s really wrong, and try to resolve that situation. Work out what it was that resulted in putting you in a bad mood and rather then ignoring it and letting everything else get on top of you, resolve it. Once the initial cause of the problem has been resolved, your mood will hopefully improve and the other little things won’t matter anymore.
  • The moment something goes wrong, take a deep breathe and count to ten. You might not think it will make much difference, but giving yourself just a few moments to calm down before reacting could be the difference between snapping and making the situation worse and letting the issue go.
  • Escape the world for just a little while. Listen to your iPod and block out everyone else, watch a movie or just read a chapter of a book. It will distract you and help you forget about everything else and although it’s just temporary, after a while your mood will improve and you might realize that by easily forgetting what’s wrong for just a while, it really isn’t that much of a big deal.
  • Scream and let out all the anger.
  • Remind yourself that things could be a lot worse, and people have it a lot harder. Knowing that other people are going through worse won’t help you directly, but at least it’ll help you forget about the little problems. Again, it won’t get rid of the main issue, but it’s something.
  • Do something that makes you happy, like listening to a favourite song or wearing your favourite perfume. Little things like doing your make up nice or wearing an extra stylish outfit will give you a big positive boost and will help you take on the day better.
  • Run a bubble bath, light some candles and just relax.
  • Remember that tomorrow is a whole other day. No matter what, you’ll always have another chance the next day and things can go so much differently if you allow them. Trivial matters won’t be important anymore, and a good nights sleep can make a lot of difference.
  • Take a few moments to stop and think about what is going RIGHT. There’s no doubt you have loads going for yourself so for a while forget the bad and think about the good. Make a list of things you’re thankful for or things you love about yourself. Or you could even start collecting a list of memories in a jar as a new craft project, writing on bits of paper things that have made you happy or good memories you’ve had. Then when you’re feeling down, open the jar and read a few – they’ll put you in a better mood in no time.
…but most importantly, if things feel that bad that you really can’t see how you’re going to cope please think about spending some time with friends or family! Unfortunately days like this effect people who are depressed or bipolar on a much stronger level than other people. So if you are someone who suffers from depression or bipolar disorder and none of these tips work, please look at the bigger picture and get some or talk to someone before the bad days get too much!

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It is virtually every ladies fantasy to bag themselves a rockstar (and if you disagree, what are you doing on my blog?!) – but it’s SO hard to actually follow through with this plan, especially when your hubby to be doesn’t know you exist (yet) and has already captured the heart of thousands of other like minded girls. But it’s possible. And it’s possible to do without being Hayley Williams. Trust me.

  • Be there from the very start. You’re much more likely to get close to a rockstar hottie if the band is just starting out/still in that ‘playing in the garage’ phase simply because they’re lesser known and have more chance to get to know you/the fans better. It’ll also ensure that you’re not just after them because they’re in a band because you were totally into their band before they got big.
  • Don’t always go for the lead singer. Everyone goes for the lead singer. Although the frontman usually tends to be the sexiest, don’t forgot there’s usually a guitarist/bassist/drummer in the band too!
  • Never fangirl over them. Most rockstars have ego’s the size of Mars so if you give in and gush over them, you’re just the same as everyone else. Act disinterested and like their rockstar attitude doesn’t phase you and you’ll make a much bigger impression on them than anyone else.
  • Don’t be a band slut. Show your interest in a variety of different bands off course but if you try and bed every frontman from every band, you’ll get yourself a reputation and although they’ll know who you are, they’ll also know to avoid them.
  • Think about how to meet them. Fans get to meet rockstars after gigs everyday but fans don’t get to date rockstars. Try and meet them in a natural setting as in the fact that you can one day tell your kids ‘Yeah we met when he came into my bar after his gig. I pretended I had no idea who he was at the time…’. Get barwork working at music venues or internships at record labels and you’ll find your rockstar hottie will be much more likely to fall for ‘that hot chick that sometimes serves him at the bar’.
  • Be prepared for the rockstar lifestyle. It’s not all sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll baby. It also means being gone for most of the year for months on end, thousands of other ladies trying to get into his pants and quite possibly fans gossiping about you and how you’re not good enough for him. 
  • Likewise, if you live in the UK, you should probably attempt to find a local rockstar, rather then an American one (there goes my chance with John O’Callaghan…).
  • Appreciate their music, but don’t go over the top. Sure, admit to knowing who they are, but perhaps don’t admit to owning every single CD they’ve ever released and stalking them on Tumblr.
  • Finally, don’t be disheartened about the fact that as just an average girl you might not have a chance with a well known sex god rockstar. Just remind yourself on a daily basis of how other rockstars met their other halves. The lead singer of Train met his wife when he spotted her in the crowd at a gig and made security go and give her a backstage pass for after the show. Dougie from McFly fell for his girlfriend after she did a painting for him at his house. It’s doable, trust me!

Good luck ladies, let me know how you get on 😉

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