Sunday, 29 November 2015

Facing Your Fears

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Recently, I have been doing something extremely nerve-racking and, quite honestly, terrifying. To most, especially those with diagnosed anxiety, might think of my petty fears as stupid and an exaggeration. But to me, I’m way outside of my comfort zone and there is no going back.


I started learning French 3 ½ years ago when I first moved to Brussels. I went from knowing nothing to where I am now; half of my classes at school are in French. I have never struggled with the language, I was a fast learner, but now I feel so insecure about everything: my grammar, my accent, everything. I am terrified of speaking French in front of Francophones (Belgians and French students alike). It makes me physically sick to my stomach and I have spent sleepless nights tossing and turning, wondering how I might humiliate myself the next day.


Although I am still struggling with handling my anxiety (big presentation coming up next week!), I do have some tricks up my sleeve to ease the nerves.


1. Know that you are brave enough to take a risk
I always tell myself that I was courageous to sign up for classes in French. If anything, I am braver than all the fluent speakers because I stepped up to the challenge.


2. You’ll be proud of yourself when it’s over
Another something that boosts my confidence; telling myself that when it’s all finished, I will be incredibly proud of doing it in the first place. No one else will remember let alone care if you embarrassed yourself in any way. I often wish I hadn’t taken a risk, but I know I’ll be glad I didn’t when it’s over.


3. Making mistakes is the only way you’ll learn
You won’t get anything out of being perfect (as much as that annoys me - I’m a perfectionist). Understand that everyone makes mistakes every now and then. You’ll get it right next time. The point is that it’s a learning process.


4. Face your fears to overcome them
Your fears will remain fears if you never affront them. Don’t hide from what might happen. I struggle with public speaking, but that’ll never change unless I want it to. How do I change it? I do it.


5. Find a way to de-stress
In my case, I find stress comes hand in hand with nerves. Find a technique that gets rid of the stress. Maybe meditation (if so, get the Calm app!), reading a book, blogging (see what I did there?), anything that puts your mind at ease.


Sometimes, if you face your fears, you’ll realize there isn’t anything to be afraid of. I wish you the best of luck if you face your fears. Please do, it might lead to a happier, more fulfilled life.


Love,

Niamh x
Saturday, 28 November 2015

Winter Essentials

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Winter is upon and we are only 2 short days away from December ! If you say you’re not as excited as I am then you’re lying. Even Jack Frost has stopped by and I’ve been walking to school in the freezing cold - not exactly fun but very exciting ! So, in light of winter spirit, I’ve decided to share my winter essentials: what gets me through the cold ?

1. Scarves
I cannot bear walking out of the house without wrapping a scarf (or snood) around my neck. Even if I’m wearing a massive jumper, scarves add a pop of colour and warmth on a winter's day. Zara does some lovely tartan ones, and Fat Face is one to check out for general coziness and colour.

2. Tea & Hot Chocolate
On average, and I say this with no exaggeration, I drink 5 cups of tea a day. One in the morning, one in a flask at school and about 3 to 4 after. They taste so good, are beneficial to your body and make you feel warm and cozy. My favourite teas are from Pukka - they have everything from herbal to fruity. I’m not necessarily a hot chocolate fan, but a friend of mine got me some Swiss Miss; hot chocolate packets with mini marshmallows. Absolutely. Amazing.

3. Candles
Do I have to say anymore? The smells, the packaging, the everything. I recently got this Rituals candle, and although it isn’t very Christmassy it smells amazing. Let there be light!

4. Hand Cream & Lip Balm
Leaning more towards the practicalities now, hand cream and lip balms/butters are musts for me all winter. I get very dry hands and am prone to cold sores if I constantly lick my chapped lips, so without these essentials I would dry up like an autumn leaf. For my hands I use L’Occitane’s classic hand cream and for my lips I use a tub of Carmex.

5. A Winter Romance
Like many, I love any good book. Through in Christmas and a good ol’ romance plot and I’m hooked. I’m a massive bookworm (when I find I book I love), so when I across Let It Snow, I didn’t put it down til the very last page. Curling up in front of a fire, snuggling into a blanket, a cup of tea at hand and a good book...what’s not to love?

Et voila, my top 5 essentials to surviving winter. I hope you enjoyed it and are looking forward to December as much as I am. More Christmas themed rambles coming !

Love,

Niamh x
Friday, 27 November 2015

Your Christmas Playlist Sorted

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Happy Friday !

Hope you’ve had a stress free week and are looking forward to a fun filled weekend :)

As I am sure you all know, November is coming to a close - which only means we are one step closer to Christmas. As of today, there are 27 days until Christmas ! In preparation for my favourite holiday of the year, all week I have set my alarm to my Christmas playlist, so I wake up every morning with a festive smile on my face.

So, here I am, sharing my Christmas anthems that never get old. I am addicted to this playlist and listen to it all the time. What is more Christmassy than Mariah Carey? To me, this music screams Christmas (literally)...

Christmas Playlist 2015

1. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
2. Another Rock And Roll Christmas - Gary Glitter
3. Fairytale Of New York - The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl
4. Driving Home For Christmas - Chris Rea
5. Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin’ Stevens
6. Step Into Christmas - Elton John
7. Wonderful Christmas Time - Paul McCartney
8. Do They Know It’s Christmas? - Band Aid
9. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday - Roy Wood With Wizzard
10. Merry Xmaz Everybody - Slade
11. Last Christmas - Wham!
12. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
13. Stop The Cavalry - Jona Lewie
14. Mistletoe & Wine - Cliff Richard
15. Thank God It’s Christmas - Queen

I hope these classic songs will keep your festive spirits up until Christmas finally rolls around ! These are timeless anthems that will make you crack a smile every time you hear them.

Love,

Niamh x
Thursday, 26 November 2015

A Note On Skincare

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Hello again !

I wasn’t planning on posting today, but I’ve decided that this is a productive way to procrastinate. I have tons of work waiting to be completed, but that’ll have to wait...

Today, a small note on skincare. I have very clear skin, and I say that truthfully - I’m not a boaster. I rarely get spots (maybe that’s because I have extremely dry skin, not oily) and seldom skip my skincare routine. People often ask me how I got so lucky, and although it’s partly down to genes, a lot of it certainly isn’t luck. Just a heads up, though, I am no expert. All of my knowledge (bit of an overstatement?) is simply down to my own experience.

My first and foremost tip to achieving a near perfect face without layers of foundation is to drink lots of water. A dehydrated face is not a happy one. Keep drinking water and your face with not dry up. Always drink at least 2 litres of water a day and your face will glow.

Secondly, eat healthy. Too much sugar and bad fats will not help your face clear up. I went through a stage last summer where I could not control my sweet tooth, and unsurprisingly broke out around my nose. Feed your body good food and it will repay you with happy skin. Have a look at Deliciously Ella for some recipe inspiration. Or simply lay off the sweets and biscuits !

My last tip may or may not help you - depending on whether you’ve found a reliable product or not. Create a skincare routine using products that do your skin good. Personally, a visit to the dermatologist did me the world of good. I have very sensitive, dry skin, and was recommended to dermatologist approved moisturizers and cleansers that I purchased from the pharmacy. Never use something because you like the packaging (I’m a sucker for it) or because your friend loved it. Find out your skin type and go from there. I use Bioderma and A-Derma products and love them.

VoilĂ , a simple 3 step guide to improving your skin. Hope this helps, I promise it did for me !

Love,

Niamh x
Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Last Gust of Autumn

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Hello !

Hope you’re all doing great. Grab a cuppa - it’s a chatty one.

Today I sat down and had a bit of a music video moment watching the rain pound against the window. Why ? I was mournfully staring at the bare-branched trees in my garden and wondering how quickly the leaves went from red, orange and yellow to falling off the trees like rain.

Then it hit me. Autumn is long gone (many apologies for the dramatic build-up...and let down), and winter is upon us !

But to me, although I adore Christmas and on the first weekend of November was sat watching Elf, I can’t help but miss the sun at 6:00pm and the colourful trees in the forest. I’m gutted to say this, but it won’t be happening again ‘til next year.

Maybe summer and winter aren’t Belgium’s fortĂ©, but autumn is pretty darn beautiful. Ready for my inner poet? Gorgeous trees, light filtered forest floors, sunny mornings and cozy evenings, barely a drop of rain touched my coat. I think we can agree, although Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year, autumn is definitely up there with my favourite seasons.

On a happier note (because that was bloody depressing), we have lots of things to look forward to with excitement and to look back on with high spirits.

First of all, as of today, there are 29 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS! Praise the lord! Let the angels sing! This means the movie magic of tree decorating and pressie wrapping and all that excitement (minus the snow, duh). But even better news, I’m off to the sun for Christmas this year! Ah yes, Costa Rica, here I come !

Last but not least, and a bit random too, have you seen the Belgians’ response to the police asking them not to upload photos of raids? Only Belgians could pull of this ironic cat humour at a time like this. Nothing like good ol’ Buzzfeed to make your day.

Have a lovely, cozy, winter kick off,

Niamh x
Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Sunday Survival

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Hello !

Hope you’re all having a lovely Tuesday.

When someone says the word Sunday to me, my first thought is of piles of work I have ignored for the past week that I must complete - and for the next day.

And although I have heard that you learn to love Sundays (how…?), I have not quite gotten there yet. To me, Sunday is like a weekend party-crasher. It’s worse than a Monday. All Monday, my thoughts consist of tomorrow’s Tuesday, then Wednesday, etc. But on Sunday, all I can think about is that I'm on the brink of starting a new week.

And I know it’s Tuesday, but due to the atrocities around the world (#prayfortheworld), Brussels is currently on lockdown and therefore I’ve been off school since yesterday. So, my days since then have been very Sunday-esque; work, tea break, work, eat… Which can get VERY boring !

So here it is, my guide to surviving a rainy Sunday (or Tuesday...) Enjoy !

1. Start your day off on a happy note

I promise you will only dread your workload more if you wake up and immediately make a mental list of all the things you have to do. Have a quick, wake me up shower, a cup of tea, maybe read couple chapters of a book. Put your mind at ease before you stress out ! But, quick note, don’t do this for too long, just about 30 minutes. Don’t get into the habit of putting your work to one side for the entire day.

2. Plan out what you have to do

Don’t sit yourself in front of your laptop and tell yourself to crack on straight away. Decide what you’ll get done first, maybe go subject by subject if you want, like a mini schedule. Know what you have to do and when to do it, so your work is organized. This leads me on to…

3. ‘ Reward’ yourself after each chunk of work

This helps me so much when I’ve got tons to do. Don’t do work for hours on end, your brain will die of boredom ! Split up your work into chunks, and after every chunk completed, reward yourself with something small. Maybe a 10 minute YouTube video, a scroll through your Instagram feed, even a biscuit, but nothing that lasts more than 5-10 minutes, so your brain doesn’t shut down work mode.

4. Get rid of any distractions

I’m sure you’ve all been told at some point to put your phone down and get something done - am I right? But this time, DO IT. It’s hard to ‘get in the zone’ if you’re phone keeps pinging with notifications. Put it in another room, and trust me, your work will get done faster.

5. Relax !

Sunday is still part of the weekend ! DO NOT work yourself too hard. If you think you are, make a plan for next weekend (quelle horreur). Space things out over the upcoming week. Relax ! Pamper yourself, get out of the house, watch last night’s X Factor, but STOP WORKING after a while. You’ve done enough. Personally, I like to binge watch Friends or read a good book in sweatpants and fuzzy socks with a cup o’ tea. And finally…

6. Turn off all screens an hour before bed

Now I’m no scientist, but I know that this definitely helps me fall asleep after a day in front of a laptop. It calms my mind down. Instead of scrolling through Facebook, pick up a book or meditate (no, I’m not mad, this actually works). But don’t go from screen to bed in a matter of minutes or you will not fall asleep for an eternity.

So, there you go, a lengthy survival guide to Sundays. Maybe one day we’ll learn to love them, but until them, I’m sticking to the guidebook.

Love,

Niamh x

Facing the Internet


Hello, world !


I'm Niamh, an English/Irish travel and lifestyle enthusiast living in the gorgeous city of Brussels, Belgium. And, as you can probably gather from the title of this post, I am officially facing the internet.


Yes, this is merely a blog, and a free one at that. But I have contemplated for a while now getting one of my own. I often see those brilliantly designed lifestyle blogs - you know what I'm talking about - ones with HD photos and professional logos and branding, plus the whole social media shebang (though if one day I'm dedicated enough I might just go there), which can be off putting, especially for those who opt for the free platform (ie. ME!), whose only template options consist of font size and colour.


But I have broken down that mind barrier and voila - Little but Fierce was born, a name derived from Shakespeare's quote: " Though she be but little, she is fierce "


More on my geeky side later - on to the good stuff ! What can you expect from this blog ?


If I'm entirely honest - and I will be, seeing as that's the purpose of this - then I've got to say I'm not entirely sure. Maybe the odd lifestyle post, a monthly favourite or lovelist (more on that when it happens...) and perhaps a good old pick me up ramble. Hopefully something you'll look forward to reading !


The point is, I'll do what I want here because it makes me happy. Nothing more, nothing less. This is my very own corner of the internet to tell you all the things that make me smile and if I'm not smiling, how to change that.


And there you have it, the wordy intro to this blog that I will be embarrassed to read in a few years time - if it lasts that long of course !


Love,

Niamh x

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