Oh, hey there.

How you doin’?

It’s been a while. Well, a few weeks – let’s not be too dramatic.

I did post over on Facebook that I’d be disappearing temporarily whilst I got my sh*t together and I hoped during that time I’d be able to take a day or two to bulk write and schedule a bunch of posts but of course that didn’t happen. Maybe next weekend?

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Life Lately | Life Update | Personal

During that time, I started a new job, moved to a new place and became single again. Although, let’s face it, my ex and I seem to be on and off all the time so who knows how long it will last this time.

Still. I left my job in retail for a job based in Milton Keynes which is much more related to my degree – at last! It’s challenging but I’m so thankful for my boss for giving me a chance. It’s only my second week and I’m already well at home already. The girls in the office are lovely (we’re all pretty much new so all in the same boat), my boss is uber cool and the office is in a really nice location too. I mean we have go karting on the estate. How can anyone not think that’s awesome?!

I also finally moved out of home (I made it before 30!) and into my brother’s flat which he’s renting to me. I’m still not entirely moved in because a) I own so much stuff and b) starting a new job and doing a huge move to a new city at the same time just isn’t possible. So at the moment I’m spending weekends there and moving things up bit by bit, but hey, it’s my space and I can’t even begin to tell you how great it feels.

Although I’m renting, my brother trusts me as well, so I pretty much have full reign of the place in terms of decorating too.

During the past few weeks I’ve also seen Fall Out Boy live (where I got terribly, terribly drunk), dyed my hair dark again (which looks horrid as I’m way too pale for how dark it is now) and have genuinely spent time with family.

It has helped, taking a break from the blog. When struggling with the break up, someone told me to simply take some time to myself and do something for me. I thought I did this regularly, but it turns out I didn’t. So I took time to begin to binge watch Riverdale on Netflix, catch up with Made In Chelsea and spent ridiculous amounts of money on pretty things for the flat (and internet, and a TV license and generally adult stuff…).

It’s been really lovely to come home from my new job and just relax – not think that I suddenly need to finish a blog post or schedule some social media. I have missed blogging, but this mini break has taught me that I simply need to plan a bit better – which I will now – to ensure that my time is actually my time and doesn’t turn blogging into a chore.

So, that’s me and my little life update.

It’s good to be back!

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In our society, it’s super easy to feel popular with instagram likes, hundreds of Facebook fans and an audience at your fingertips on Twitter. But we all know just how lonely this can make us too – people often choose to whatsapp instead of meeting for coffee in real life and although blogging has an amazing community, sometimes you just want to step away from the screen and hang out with these people in real life. This is where the app Hey! Vina comes in.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Introducing: Hey! Vina | Friendship | App Review

Hey! Vina describes itself as Tinder for friendship and it follows the same routine – you download the app and create a profile, you join a few communities and when it’s time to look for a friend, you’re faced with basic profile cards where you can swipe left or right to match. Better yet, people actually use this app. I’ve already matched with many lovely sounding girls living local and I’m hoping to take the friendship non-virtual soon.

The app is a great way to meet new people and make new friends – as we all know it’s not easy. The older you get the harder it becomes to make friends in real life – often the closest you’ll get is declaring new best friends in the ladies toilets on a night out only to never see the girls again! So this laid back app takes all that fuss out of it and allows you to chat and mingle with people from the comfort of home.

Of course the next step to actually arranging to meet in real life is a little scary and I have to admit, I’m yet to find the courage to do so. But does it actually work? Do people actually make friends in real life via this app? It turns out they do, as a few girls have told me – so the app definitely does the job.

You can join little groups/communities based on your interests and circumstances too – such as Yogis, Expats and SciFi Sisters – although so far, other than seeing other peoples communities on their profile, I don’t quite understand what the communities are for yet as there’s not really a page or message board for each. Still, it’s a great way to easily see at a glance whether or not you have things in common with someone.

The app is absolutely beautiful too and filled with cute and quirky illustrations. It looks so sweet on my phone and I have to admit, the look of the app is part of what drew me in to download it and try it (as I’ve tried similar friendship apps before but they’ve never really lived up to my expectations).

So overall, it’s a great app for whatever your circumstances. I’ve spoken to girls just moved to the area and who don’t know anyone yet, ladies who are recently single and people who just want to make new friends – like me.

And if you’re scared about starting the conversation first, you don’t have to worry. As soon as you match with someone, an automatic message from VINA pops up, prompting you to talk and creating a chat stream. So cool, and almost impossible to ignore (in a good way).

So if you’re feeling lonely or like you need to meet new people in your area, I’d definitely recommend Hey! Vina. It’s an app that I feel is really needed right now as I know first hand how hard it is to meet new people and make new friends, so I really hope more people become aware of it and start using it soon.

Would you ever try and app like Hey! Vina? Let me know!

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One of my favourite things about having a smartphone is all the amazing apps that are available; from budgeting to finding the nearest public loo, apps are a lifesaver more often than not. I last wrote a post like this in 2016, so I thought it was time for an update to share what my favourite apps are in 2018.

Formidable Joy - UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Tech | My favourite apps for 2018

LIFESTYLE | TOWNFISH
This app is still in its beta phrase – and I’ve been helping to test it out – but so far, it’s been super useful for me when I’m in London. Relying on locals, the app lists all cool and quirky events going on in the city and is really great if you’re in London at a loss of what to do and need to find something pretty damn quickly. You can also ask questions or ask for recommendations, and the app shares blog posts like where to celebrate pancake day in London or free things to do in the city. Keep an eye out for this app for when it launches properly.

BUDGETING | MONZO
I recommended this app in 2016 but still find it totally relevant. With this app, I have my own (funky pink!) prepaid card to help me budget my money. Whenever I get paid, I now top up the card with whatever essentials I need to spend money on that month; petrol, parking, food shopping etc. Anything left over in my bank account I try to save. It’s useful because the money I need is already set aside so if ever I’m skint, I don’t have to panic about important things like that. It’s really popular too – I see people coming into work and using their own Monzo cards all the time!

FITNESS | 30 DAY SQUAT CHALLENGE
Paired with taking up Pound Fitness again, committing myself to the simple 30 Day Squat Challenge will ensure that I will have the best bottom ever pretty soon..! (Hopefully)

DRIVING | WAZE
The satnav in your pocket! I adore Waze, a cute satnav driving app. I still use my actual satnav for long journeys but Waze is ideal on a day to day basis as it updates as you’re driving to reflect traffic and suggest other routes to take, you can send ETA’s through it (quite possibly my favourite part), ‘bib’ your friends when they’re online and earn points with the more you drive. So useful. Plus the avatar’s are really cute. Mine is a little zombie because I’m forever doing early morning delivery shifts at work and therefore driving half asleep in the morning looking like a zombie.

LIFESTYLE | STRIDES
A new year means a new you, but for those of us who don’t bullet journal, keeping a level head and remembering all our new year habits is hard. I’ve started using Strides, which is a basic little app that records your new habits. It’s very satisfying to hit seven days in a row or being able to look at the calendar to see more green (completed) than red (failed) dates. I use mine to track eating vegan, learning Romanian, doing exercise, hitting my daily water intake goal and not speaking to my ex, ha. It has really helped to motivate me and for anyone struggling in the new year, even beginning to record one small habit can help anyone keep a level head or routine when everything feels too much.

MONEYSAVING | CHIP
Another money saving app is Chip – something I’ve blogged about so many times because it’s just that amazing. Since using downloading it, I’ve saved nearly £300 without even realizing it. The app links up to your bank account and judges your spending to work out what can be saved each week – so it will vary from a couple of quid to £50! And, if it’s too much, you can cancel the withdrawal. It’s such a smart app and it’s the only way I’ve ever managed to properly save. If you’re interested, you can use my referral code JLB3BY to earn 1% interest on all your savings. 1% might not seem like a lot, but every little helps. Plus, since you save so regularly, the interest will soon build up. You can read about the app in more detail here.

What are your favourite or most useful apps? Let me know!

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Mental health is an extremely important issue in our day in age, especially when we live in a world where people are lonelier than ever despite having the whole world at their fingertips via a phone or laptop. Luckily, this is where Mental Snapp comes in.

Mental Snapp is a brand new app which bridges the gap between modern technology and mental health. In a nutshell, you use the app on a daily basis to record your feelings by filming videos simply just talking about your feelings and how your day has gone. It’s a great way to get in touch with yourself and is a modern take on checking in on how your doing and feeling.

Formidable Joy - UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Introducing: Mental Snapp | App | App Review | Mental Health | Mental Snapp

The videos are entirely private, but depending on what tags you use, the app comes up with responses and prompts for what to record next. You have the opportunity to rate your mood, name your feelings and add a subject area regarding what you are recording about, be that stress or how well you’re sleeping.

It’s a new way to journal on a daily basis, which is perfect for people with not a lot of time or who are too forgetful to keep a diary. Although you don’t have to use the app daily, you can add reminders and this can be another way to get a grip on your mental health by sticking to a routine.

By tagging videos and adding summaries, you can also view an insights graph which shows you an easy to understand analysis of your feelings. It’s a bit like an online bullet journal!

The prompts are a great idea too. If you feel like you’ve had a pretty average day and don’t really know what to talk about, choosing a prompt is another great way to self-improve also. You can remind yourself of ways to improve your motivation, or talk about the qualities in friends or family that make you feel appreciated. There’s also an SOS section which I love. Here, you can choose prompts to help you next time you’re close to a break down or having a bad day. This section almost makes you become your own therapist as you answer questions about who to reach out for in a crises or what you can do to help yourself calm down.

PERSONAL USE & THOUGHTS
I’ve been using Mental Snapp for a few weeks now and what a difference it has made. Although I have yet to remember to record daily, I have found the process of filming a quick video at the end of my day relaxing and somewhat comforting. I could compare it to talking to a diary or even a friend in an informal way; a gentle recap of my day’s events.

Looking back over my videos has been eye opening too. My videos began with me feeling quite down and heartbroken at the end of my last relationship and I’ve noticed that gradually I’ve begun to look just a little less upset and a little more, well, positive. It’s not a big difference, but it’s the kick I need to know that I am going to be okay.

Additionally, seeing how tired and just downright sad I looked to begin with has given me the confidence to take back control of my life. I don’t want to be that person anymore. My relationships, my ex boyfriend – the things that happen in my life may affect me as a person but they do not define me or define my feelings. Downloading and using this app has helped me get a grip on my mental health and helped me realize that it’s time to take back control of my feelings with help Lexapro.

Formidable Joy - UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Introducing: Mental Snapp | App | App Review | Mental Health | Mental Snapp Formidable Joy - UK Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | Introducing: Mental Snapp | App | App Review | Mental Health | Mental Snapp

In this day in age – when therapists are expensive and our online lives force us to feel lonelier than ever – Mental Snapp is the app we need to take back control of our mental health and help us get a grip on managing it.

My only small issue with the app is where the videos are stored – I found quite quickly I was unable to record more videos unless I free’d up some space on my phone. Anyone with an iPhone will know how irritating this is – and how easy it is to run out of space – so although I don’t know much about phone storage, perhaps it would work out better if the videos were stored in the app only so that it doesn’t affect how much space is needed on your phone.

The video lengths are bite size at two minutes long – which I kind of like. It took me a while to get used to how short they are and for my first few videos I didn’t get to get in everything I wanted to say. I think this is a good thing though as it cuts out the cr*p so to speak – you get right to your point talking about your day. If you want to record a longer video – a ramble about your feelings perhaps – there are other ways to do this.

It does feel a little weird filming yourself at first. Of course confident vloggers likely won’t experience this, but it’s comforting to know that the videos are entirely private to you. You don’t even have to watch them if you don’t want to.

Still, overall, Mental Snapp has quickly become one of my go-to apps on my phone and pretty much does work like a personal diary or therapist in your pocket. It’s such a smart idea and I’m really glad that such an app was developed.

Would you use an app like Mental Snapp to get to grips with your mental health? Let me know with a comment!

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Happy New Year! This 2018, I’ve decided to do the usually avoidable for me by making (and sharing!) some New Year’s Resolutions. I often have a few ‘new year’ plans when the 1st Jan hits, but it’s very rare these days that I actually make a physical list or actually blog about it. Maybe having an actual list will help…?

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | 10 of my somewhat achievable New Year's Resolutions | New Year | New Year's Resolutions
GIVE MY EYEBROWS A MAKEOVER

Yeah, this one is easy. My eyebrows need styling/tinting and I really, really need to learn how to do them properly like a proper woman.

KEEP MY PMS IN CHECK
It’s safe to say I go batsh*t crazy when I’m PMSing. I’m lazy, I lash out and I want to eat allll the junk food. Normally these aren’t huge issues, but when I’m snapping at people around me and taking it out on others, it’s probably time to find a solution.

TRAVEL MORE
Whose New Year Resolution isn’t to travel more?! Some places I have in mind for 2018 are Dublin, Edinburgh and Iceland. And maybe somewhere sunny too..

GET UP A WHOLE HOUR EARLIER EVERY DAY
I want to stop pressing snooze on my alarm five times before I finally get up, roll out of bed, get ready in a rush and head to work. I want to wake up peacefully, have a cuppa in bed and actually have breakfast for once. So far I have failed at this resolution every morning this week but, y’know, there’s still 360 days left to get this resolution down.

LEARN ROMANIAN
I’m getting there. So far, in Romanian I can say:
– Milk
– Tea
– I love you
– You are a child

and that’s about it. But these things take time!

Formidable Joy | UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle | 10 of my somewhat achievable New Year's Resolutions | New Year | New Year's Resolutions

LISTEN TO A PODCAST OTHER THAN MY DAD WROTE A PORNO
2017 will always be known as the year I finally delved into the world of podcast’s and binge-listened to My Dad Wrote A Porno for five hours straight as my boyfriend and I road tripped across Romania. Good times. But this year I will expand my podcast knowledge/listening and try a few new ones. Podcasts I currently have my eye on are: Ctrl Alt Delete, The Last Podcast On The Left and, of course, Serial. Any other recommendations would be welcome though.

GET A NEW HAIRSTYLE
I’ve been ombré blonde for sooo long now and although it’s a smart and failsafe look, it just makes me feel like I’m blending into the background. I’d love to go for a drastic look or colour but I’m thinking shorter, a bright colour and then, when that fades/grows out, back to a trusty chocolate brunette shade. I’m not sure when exactly, but it’s definitely time for a change.

OWN THE SH*T OUT OF MY BLOG
I’ll obviously be doing a proper post on my 2018 blogging goals, but I’d like to raise my DA score, successfully migrate to WordPress, build a better relationship with brands and be all round more successful in general.

DRINK MORE WATER
Obvs.

SPEND LESS
I really began to get a grip on my savings towards the end of last year and this year I want to continue that and save more. I’d like to save enough to get out of my overdraft and to be able to afford my own place. This seems absolutely impossible right now, but every little step helps!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Let me know!

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