Define Sentimental?

  1. expressive of or appealing to sentiment, especially the tender emotions and feelings, as love, pity, or nostalgia: a sentimental song.
  2. pertaining to or dependent on sentiment : We kept the old photograph for purely sentimental reasons.
  3. weakly emotional; mawkishly susceptible or tender: the sentimental Victorians.
Everyone has items that they keep for sentimental reasons. Maybe because they were given to them by a special person or remind them of the past. My sentimental items are in a drawer under my bed. After putting it off for a long time, I finally decided to go for it and tackle these items. I haven’t looked through them for a very long time so I’d forgotten how “sentimental” I am.
Such as the bag crammed with every Birthday, Christmas, good luck, with sympathy, Easter and “Yay you passed your driving test!” card that I have received since I was 16. I’m now 25. Seriously, why did I keep them all? I kept one that was sent to me by my late Nanna, just so I can remember what her handwriting looked like (Is that weird?) and the rest went. So that was pretty painless. Moving on to the shoe box of random tat that I collected as a child and can’t seem to part with.
Where to start… Here is a list of things from the box that I managed to get rid of without much deliberation.
  • A Team GB teddy key ring from the 2004 Olympics
  • A medal I got for doing a charity run
  • Several rubber charity bracelets that I used to wear all the way up one arm but haven’t worn for several years
  • A wooden puzzle that I made in woodwork class at school (One of those when the challenge is to separate the three linked pieces of wood) Except I cut the holes too big so it wasn’t much of a challenge, in fact it was more difficult to get the thing to stay together!
  • Two “Personal Survival” swimming badges. That’s the one when they make you jump into the pool wearing your pyjamas and collect rubber bricks from the bottom.
  • Four conkers covered in glittery nail varnish
  • My cycling proficiency badge that I earned at school when I was 10
  • Several random bookmarks
  • A couple of friendship bracelets (Can’t remember who made them for me…)
  • A commemorative medal and a mug with the Queen on it, from her Golden Jubilee in 2002
  • A pair of high heels made out of icing, that were on top of my 18th birthday cake
  • A bag full of marbles that I bought on a school trip when I was 9
  • A few rubber bouncy balls
  • A couple of photo key rings
  • A Mr Men book
  • My first piggy bank

I am keeping a cup that was given to me on my Christening and a giant seashell that I found on the beach when I was 8. That’s it so I ditched the shoe box too. I can’t understand why I kept these things! Maybe I’m just lazy and shoving them in a box under the bed was easier than sorting through them? Maybe they were sentimental to me at the time but my feelings have changed as I’ve grown?

I wish that was the end of it now but there’s one more thing in that drawer under the bed. A folder crammed with photos and things from secondary school. That’s a whole other story and I’m hoping to tackle that tomorrow. If anyone has any tips about dealing with items that are full of memories (not necessarily good memories either) and are difficult to deal with, please comment below.

Take care,



Minimalism Action Plan

In my last post, I talked about my growing interest in minimalism. I decided to make a Minimalism Action Plan (or MAP for short, which is kinda appropriate really!) It is still a work in progress and might get changed but for now, here is what I plan to do.

  • Go through everything in my room. I did this a couple of months ago but I’m going to revisit the things that I kept last time that I wasn’t sure about. If I haven’t used it in those 2 months it’s going!
  • Tackle the sentimental stuff. When I said I went through everything last time, I lied. I left the drawer under my bed because it is full of sentimental stuff. Photos, birthday/Christmas cards, a souvenir from a school trip when I was 9… A commemorative mug with the Queen on it from her Golden Jubilee in 2002… Other crap that I have kept for no logical reason, you get the idea.
  • Decide what is most important to me. Minimalism is about making time and space for the important things, I just need to decide what those are.
  • Revisit my capsule wardrobe. After my first declutter I drastically reduced my wardrobe. Time to go back, see what I’ve worn and what I haven’t and see if its working for me.


There are other things I need to work on too. I had a job interview this week and I was really nervous. I decided that none of the tops in my capsule wardrobe were suitable for this particular interview and went on a shopping spree. I scoured every shop and found nothing that I wanted to incorporate into my capsule wardrobe. At least I remembered to stick to the system and didn’t just buy something for the sake of it! So I returned home, tried on 4 tops with my black trousers, thinking about the pros and cons of each and finally chose one.

In reality any of the 4 tops would have been fine, there was no need for my manic shopping spree. I was nervous, overthinking and tried to seek comfort/confidence from a new purchase. I’m glad I didn’t. In the end my interview went well (I think/hope!) and my choice of outfit wouldn’t have made a huge difference, as long as I looked presentable.

So the plan is to tackle the bullet points above and no more panicky, unnecessary shopping trips! If anyone has any tips for avoiding those, I’d love to read them. Please leave them below in the comments.

Take care,


Venturing into Minimalism

For those who have known me on Twitter for the last couple of years, this may seem like a strange post for me to be writing. Its well known that I love shopping and I can be quite sentimental, holding on to things just because someone else gave them to me. Minimalism has never been a part of my lifestyle. In fact, I’d go as far as admitting that in the not so distant past I have been a mindless consumer, trying to get some sense of belonging or completeness from buying stuff. I always thought that I was immune to the advertising and the “buying this will make you happier/cooler/smarter/prettier” propaganda but I can see now that I wasn’t. Far from it.

Most people know that I’m in the middle of finding a job as a live in nanny and once I get a job, I’ll be leaving home and moving to wherever the job is. Its a huge step for me and frankly a scary one but I know I’ll regret it if I don’t take this chance. So to help my worry-prone brain get used to the idea, I decided to start sorting out my stuff. My bedroom was utter chaos! I should have taken a photo before I started (Although to be honest, even if I had I would have been too ashamed to post it!) but I didn’t, so you’ll have to trust me when I say my desk and half of my floor was covered in piles of “stuff”. Clothes that needed putting away, letters, papers and receipts that needed sorting, random things that I didn’t have a home for and didn’t know what to do with, it was ridiculous! That was just the things I could see, before I got started on my wardrobe or drawers.

I spent a couple of days sorting through things and trying to decide where I was going to put everything once I was done sorting. Eventually I had to admit that I had too much stuff and I had a light bulb moment.

How much of this stuff will I take when I move?

The thought of having to pack up my life and fit it in the back of my car made me realise that I had so much stuff I would leave behind. If I wouldn’t take it, I don’t need it.

 … So then why keep it?

I went through my whole room bit by bit. My criteria was to remove anything that;

  • Was broken
  • I have more than one of (if I only really need one)
  • Didn’t fit
  • Didn’t suit me
  • I didn’t need to keep (old letters, out of date vouchers etc)
  • I didn’t like but had kept because it was a gift
  • Was out of date (body cream, makeup etc)
  • I didn’t need but kept for some inexplicable reason

Two bags of rubbish, four bags for the charity shop, two boxes of books and one box of CDs/DVDs later… My room looked empty! I loved it!

Its been just over a month since I decluttered and its made a huge difference. In the meantime I’ve been reading up on minimalism and its something that I want to keep working on. So this is the first post of several that will focus on me venturing into minimalism. In the next post I’m going to make a plan of action so I know what my next steps will be.

Tips and advice are always welcome!

Take care,

Hayley x


I’ve made a good start on the Bucket List I posted a couple of weeks ago by completing one last week! I have now ticked off Leave the country by travelling to Norway!


It was a family holiday and our first time on a cruise. It was amazing to wake up in a different port each day and I’ve never felt so well looked after, ever! Everything about it was fantastic and Norway is such a beautiful country. As mentioned on my bucket list, it had been 8 years since I last went abroad, due to my hatred of planes so getting out of the country was an important step for me. In the future I plan to take short flights to places like Edinburgh or Dublin because I know that the only way to get over a fear is to do it repeatedly. I’ve learnt that over the last 11 years of fighting anxiety, its hard but its the only way. Here are a few highlights of my trip:






These photos were taken in Olden, a beautiful part of Norway.  It was a very small place but so picturesque. The last photo is my favourite, purely because of the man standing behind me! His expression cracks me up every time! “What is that weird girl doing?!” I was trying to look like a troll…

We also visited Bergen, Alesund and Stavanger but the above pics are my best photos, I’m no photographer!

Another thing on my bucket list is to see the Northern Lights. I couldn’t do it this time because its the wrong time of year but that just gives me an excuse to go back! Although I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland so maybe I could go there to see the lights instead. If you have seen the Northern Lights please comment below and let me know where you went to see them. Any advice on the best places and times to visit is welcome!

I have to admit, I had post holiday blues when I got home, which has never really happened to me before. I guess taking away the stressful part (flying) let me enjoy myself because I didn’t spend the whole holiday thinking about having to get back on the plane… Yes I know how stupid that sounds, its something for me to work on.

Take care,


Aspiring to be… What exactly?

Hi and welcome to Aspiring To Be! I’m Hayley and I decided to start this blog because I wanted a place to write about my dreams and aspirations. I’m going through a few changes in my life right now. I’m a nanny and recently left a job that had me feeling stressed, disrespected and worthless. After I’d quit, I sat down with a notebook, wrote “What do I want?” in the middle and started brainstorming. Once I’d written down everything I could think of, I took another look at it and 3 things jumped out at me:

  1. To be happy
  2. To start reading and writing again
  3. To feel like I’m achieving something

Number 3 felt particularly painful. I had worked for this family for almost a year and what had I achieved? I had worked myself miserable trying to get their approval, their thanks, their respect but it was never going to happen. No use dwelling on that now. It feels like I lost a part of myself over the last year and its time to get it back! Before that job pretty much took over my life, I enjoyed blogging and ticking things off my bucket list. I blogged at Calm Kitchen about my plan to use healthy eating and nutrition to help me control my anxiety. I’m pleased to say it worked and I can now handle my anxiety without meds. Its something that will probably always be a part of me but I won’t let it define me any more. I am so much more than a medical condition and that is why I started this blog, its a fresh start. Right now I don’t know exactly what I’m aspiring to be but I’ll work that out along the way. All I know is I need to change things up.

This is why I’m looking into the idea of leaving home to be a live-in nanny. I read something once that said you can’t grow as a person until you leave your comfort zone and I’ve found that to be true. Lately I’ve been stuck in a rut and to keep growing as a person I feel that I need to make a big change. Yes its scary but I know that if I don’t do it now, I never will and then I’ll always wonder “what if?”.

I have a lot of interests that I want to explore, as well as finding a job I will be happy in. Future blog posts may include:

  • Bucket lists
  • Capsule wardrobes (I’m a bit obsessed with this right now!)
  • Facing fears
  • Healthy eating
  • Travelling (I’m going to Norway in 2 weeks!)
  • Journalling and drawing zentangles (I’ll explain in a later post)
  • Mindfulness
  • Anything else that inspires me!

I hope you’ll join me along the way! Feel free to join me on Twitter and pin with me on Pinterest.

What are you aspiring to be right now? Do you have a clear picture or, like me, are you working it out as you go along? Let me know in the comments below =)

Take care,

Hayley x