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Follow Your Sunshine // Polly

Bio Lifestyle. Travel. Family. Sunshine. 👩🏼‍💻 Award winning blogger 👶🏼 Mummy ☀Expat in Doha 🌎 Qatar’s @lonelyplanet writer Latest blog post ⬇️

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 Instagram Image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "Some of you might have noticed that I’ve been in a bit of a deep and contemplative frame of mind recently (yes, even for" at The Pearl Qatar - 1915448748738271077
The Pearl Qatar Report Share Download 63 412

Some of you might have noticed that I’ve been in a bit of a deep and contemplative frame of mind recently (yes, even for me!!). I’ve been working out so many things in my head, and I’m completely convinced that I’m going to come out of 2018 a completely changed person in so many ways. ::: I’d love to know - what’s been the biggest or most important thing you’ve learned this year? It could be some hugely important philosophical life advice that you hadn’t grasped at the beginning of 2018 but fully understand now, or a more light-hearted breakthrough (like today I finally learned how to force my toddler to eat my risotto - see my stories 🤣). I’ll be reading all of your answers and shouting out my favourites on my stories in a couple of days time! Looking forward to seeing what gems you have up your sleeves 😊 💛☀️ ::: ::: ::: ::: :::

 Instagram Image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "I took some time off from life again this week to take some time to reflect on things. I’m much less inclined these days" at Beckenried, Switzerland - 1913164148485759960

I took some time off from life again this week to take some time to reflect on things. I’m much less inclined these days to feel the need to post on the ‘gram every day and when there’s so much going on it’s very nice to take the pressure off a bit. ::: I did find time to pop up a blog post earlier in the week however, so if you fancy reading a little bit about this gorgeous boutique hotel that we visited this summer in Switzerland and why I think it should be on your bucket list, then head to the link in my bio. 💛☀️ ::: ::: ::: :::

 Instagram Image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "It’s a wonderful feeling to allow yourself to believe that everything that happens to you in life (yes, even the really " at Doha - 1907169315174581258
Doha Report Share Download 76 382

It’s a wonderful feeling to allow yourself to believe that everything that happens to you in life (yes, even the really awful stuff!) is just the universe conspiring for your good. In the midst of life’s biggest traumas, and even our smaller day-to-day niggles, it’s so hard to stop and think “what is this teaching me?”, “what better scenario could this be leading to?” or simply, “could this be happening for a reason?”. ::: I’ve come to wholeheartedly believe that everything works out for the best in the end. You might lose a job to make way for a better opportunity or brand new career path, get sick to learn to appreciate health, lose a relationship to learn how to love wholeheartedly, or experience sadness to gain your inner strength, resilience and independence. ::: It takes a lot of willpower, but it’s only through thinking like this that I’ve been able to maintain an ounce of gratitude during the hardest times. The hardest part is reminding yourself to be patient and wait for the ‘good’ outcome to reveal itself; sometimes it’s not obvious for a while! However, if you sit back and trust in the inner workings of the universe, I promise you it will nearly always work out. ::: Let’s all try to do this some more today - when things go wrong, send a little thank you out into the ether, for a universe that’s always, irrefutably, irrevocably conspiring for our good. 💛☀️ ::: ::: :::

 Instagram Image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "What an amazing night we all had last night at the Grazia Style Awards! It was such an honour to stand onstage with my f" at The St. Regis Doha - 1906569718488152665
The St. Regis Doha Report Share Download 122 1.28K

What an amazing night we all had last night at the Grazia Style Awards! It was such an honour to stand onstage with my fellow nominees for Influencer of the Year, all of whom have inspired so many through their little space on the internet. Huge congratulations to @eslimah and @abdulla - you’re both superstars! ::: I’m feeling a little delicate today after a late night (for a tired mum!) at the after party, but super happy that all went well and life can now slow down a bit and get back to normal! ::: I have lots of people to thank, but special shout-outs go to @perleicouture_doha for dressing me for the night in a dress that made me feel like a princess, my expert make-up artist and hair dresser @breu.manu, the @stregisdoha for the beautiful setting and @graziaqatar for a remarkable evening! @narges_theinsiderpost, @bianca.brigitte.bonomi, @Victoria ferraris and gang, you really pulled out the stops. I also can’t forget the ever-tolerant @richbyles who took tonnes of photos and stayed by my side till the bitter end, even if he’d rather have been tucked up in bed several hours before 😁 Love you! Finally, to all of YOU for your votes and continual support, you all rock my world and individually you’ve helped to make a difficult year soooo much better than I could have wished for. Thank you! 💛☀️ ::: ::: :::

 Instagram Image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "Let’s talk about play dates for a second. Parents - what’s your favourite type of play date to supervise with your kids?" at Green Park - 1904259049218832981
Green Park Report Share Download 42 565

Let’s talk about play dates for a second. Parents - what’s your favourite type of play date to supervise with your kids? Lots of friends together or 1 on 1? Outdoor rambling of activities in the home? And are you a good party organiser for birthdays and special occasions? ::: Following 3 Halloween parties this week and several play dates over the past few weeks, I’ve been inspired to mix things up a bit and use this time for more sensory play and stimulating activities - especially now the weather’s good enough to spend time outside in Qatar. ::: I’d love your input - if you have any brilliant play date ideas or activities then please post them below! 💛☀️ ::: ::: :::

 Instagram Image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "Five years ago today I handed over my one-way ticket, boarded a plane and headed to the desert to start a new life. I ha" at Qatar - 1903138843138233373
Qatar Report Share Download 93 785

Five years ago today I handed over my one-way ticket, boarded a plane and headed to the desert to start a new life. I had no idea what was waiting for me in this strange city of Doha, or that I was about to embark on the craziest journey of my life. ::: On the blog today, I’m reminiscing about five years in Qatar, five years since I started blogging and the changes that I’m going to be making around here from now on. ::: LINK IN MY BIO 💛☀️ ::: ::: :::

 Instagram Image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "A few facts about me that you might not know:
☀️ I am as English as they come, but I was actually born in Wales and live" at England - 1901405013461219488
England Report Share Download 60 606

A few facts about me that you might not know: ☀️ I am as English as they come, but I was actually born in Wales and lived there until I was 2. ☀️ I am one of 7 siblings, including half brothers and sisters. I’m the second child. ☀️ I have an undergraduate degree in Geography and a Masters in Corporate Social Responsibility. ☀️ Mr Sunshine and I met at University but we didn’t start dating until we reconnected at a wedding 5 years later! ☀️ Mr Sunshine got his job offer in Qatar just 7-8 months into our relationship and I made the difficult decision to follow him over there 3 months later. ☀️ My jobs have been many and varied, ranging from working as a charity fundraising consultant, a PR and a Communications Consultant for PwC, but my biggest challenge was working for the comms team at the Qatar World Cup organising committee. These days, alongside blogging I freelance for travel publications and write all of Qatar’s content for Lonely Planet! ☀️ Qatar, in the Middle East is our current home but England will always be our forever home. ☀️ There’s only one day left to vote for me for Influencer of the year in the @graziaqatar awards! It’s a real honour to be nominated, and if you like my page I’d love it if you’d pop over and give me a vote. The link is in my bio. 💛☀️ ::: ::: :::

 Instagram Image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "You can stand under my umbrella-ella-ella-ey-ey-ey...
:::
We’ve had more than our fair share of rain in the past couple " at Cliveden - 1900785671543515112
Cliveden Report Share Download 57 651

You can stand under my umbrella-ella-ella-ey-ey-ey... ::: We’ve had more than our fair share of rain in the past couple of weeks, both in England and Qatar, both literally and figuratively, but I don’t mind weathering the storm so much when I’m snuggling up with these two. ::: Tag your favourite person to cuddle up with on grey days below and share some rainy day love! 💛☀️ ::: ::: :::

 image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "The past 365 days in summary:
Made redundant ✅
Had a miscarriage ✅
Had a D&C ✅
Diagnosed with cancer ✅
Thyroid removed ✅" - 1895918862562717980
Report Share Download 76 478

The past 365 days in summary: Made redundant ✅ Had a miscarriage ✅ Had a D&C ✅ Diagnosed with cancer ✅ Thyroid removed ✅ Radioactive iodine therapy ✅ Told need to repeat it next year ✅ Lost friends ✅ Lost spark ✅ Lost faith ✅ Get knocked down, get back up again, get knocked down, get back up again... ::: I have to be honest, finding the willpower to get back up again over the past few weeks has been harder. Little things have knocked me more than they usually would. But inside, I know it’s just an accumulation of everything that’s built up and up until I was wondering what on earth life was about to throw at me next. ::: I’m not alone. I know there are many of you out there for whom 2018 has not been your year. I’m here to tell you that no matter how dark it gets, one day you’ll look back on this time with pride. You’re still living and breathing despite it all. What’s more, you’re STRONG. By the end of the year, you’ll have learned so much about yourself that you’ll be more authentically YOU than you’ve ever been before, and that’s a comforting thought isn’t it? ::: ::: ::: ::: RIP little pip. Due date: 23/10/2018. We never held you in our arms but you’re forever in our hearts. 💛☀️ ::: ::: ::: :::

 Instagram Image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go...the season that teaches us that change can be beautiful.
:::
It c" at Windsor, Berkshire - 1894953725513067205

Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go...the season that teaches us that change can be beautiful. ::: It couldn’t have been more poignant that I spent last week in England dealing with a great deal of change and letting a lot of things go. As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Great Gatsby: “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty ready to start life all over again right now!! ::: Time to take things back to basics: good friends, fun travels, quality family time and no feelings other than lots and lots of love. ::: What’s YOUR autumnal / fall resolution? What do you want to do more of in the last few months of 2018. It’s time to embrace that change! 💛☀️ ::: ::: ::: ::: :::

 Instagram Image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "I did some soul searching last week when we were in England. I decided I wanted to take things back a bit, to a time bef" at St. James's Park - 1893356788221340277
St. James's Park Report Share Download 85 693

I did some soul searching last week when we were in England. I decided I wanted to take things back a bit, to a time before Instagram, when my main reason for blogging was as an escape from the real world; a kind of online diary. It was a simpler time, before words such as ‘reach’ and ‘engagement’ had reached my vocabulary, and there was one main driver behind everything I did: LOVE! ::: When Sophia came along, my little space on the internet became even more important to me, as a place to immortalise my pregnancy journey, and then to log her development and our memories, and then suddenly Follow Your Sunshine was catching people’s attention because it was relatable. Caught up in what it meant to be an “influencer”, I lost my way for a little bit, and ironically it took losing a baby and being diagnosed with cancer for my page to finally become relatable again. ::: This year might have been hard, but it’s given me a fire in my belly and reignited a passion for writing, and giving something back to others through my blog - something which I thought I’d lost. ::: This is why I was especially honoured to find out I’d been nominated by @graziaqatar, alongside some of the country’s best-known and most impressive personalities as “Influencer of the Year 2018”. If Follow Your Sunshine has touched you at any point over the years, I would love it if you would pop along and vote for me (you can find the link in my bio). Equally, there are several other influencers in the running that are more than deserving of your vote! ::: Thanks for your support during this very difficult year. Just over a week ago, I very nearly broke, but this has helped to remind me that even in the hardest times there are things to be incredibly grateful for. 💛☀️ ::: :::

The Long Walk Report Share Download 60 597

We’ve had a lovely week in autumnal England, crunching through leaves, celebrating nuptials (royal and friends), spending quality time with family and having a bit of separation from all the worries of the past few months. I love the fact that every time we head home it’s as if nothing has changed, apart from the seasons. ::: Is there a special place that you escape to when the world gets a bit much? ::: Swipe 👈🏼 for all the snuggles! ::: ::: :::

 Instagram Image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "I’d like to introduce you to my second child. Here he is after only 9 weeks of life and already he was starting to give " at The World - 1890532586942466440
The World Report Share Download 92 747

I’d like to introduce you to my second child. Here he is after only 9 weeks of life and already he was starting to give the game away. I wouldn’t be able to hide our little secret from the world for long. I’d just listened to his strong and rhythmic heart beat on the monitor at the hospital and despite the fact he was making me feel constantly sick and tired, that grin on my face revealed how ecstatic I was. My heart swelled with love. Our family felt complete. ::: Sadly, not long after, his tiny heart beat its final beat and just like that he was gone. With him I lost a part of me too. His loss would later lead to my cancer diagnosis and for that I am eternally grateful. He came into the world to save my life. I just wish that I could have saved his too. ::: Next week would have been my due date. Today, on the final day of Baby Loss Awareness Week I want to pay homage to every woman who has lost a child at some stage on their pregnancy journey. So many of you are fighting an unsung battle of heartbreak and grief and not a day goes by that I don’t pray for you and the souls that you have lost. ::: On the day that we were due to hold our son in our arms, 23rd October 2018, my incredible mother in law is jumping out of a plane to raise money for @miscarriageassociation, a fantastic organisation involved in raising awareness of miscarriage and providing support for families going through the bereavement process. If you’d like to support her with a small donation, you can find the link in my bio. ::: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” Maya Angelou. With help from charities like this, we can help to rewrite this story. 💛☀️ :::

 Instagram Image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "So this is it! There’s no turning back now. The first steps towards my RAI treatment start NOW!
—
Today I had a nice big" at Switzerland - 1869700826302767704
Switzerland Report Share Download 113 825

So this is it! There’s no turning back now. The first steps towards my RAI treatment start NOW! — Today I had a nice big shot of Thyrogen in the backside, tomorrow I have another, and then it’s radioactivity time... — Things might be quiet on the grid for a bit, but if you’re interested in keeping up to date with how my treatment’s going, I’m sharing what I can while I’m able to on my stories. — Thank you so much once again to everyone who has sent messages of support, and a double thank you to everyone who has read and shared my blog post. Since this process started, it’s shocked me how little is known about this common cancer and what we can do to ensure we’re keeping in good thyroid health. You can read my story and tips at the link in my bio. — I’m off to slink into a pair of pyjamas and cuddle my little girl hard. Love to all. 💛☀️ —

 Instagram Image by Follow Your Sunshine // Polly (@polbag) with caption : "It was my birthday yesterday, but I was sick. Yup, I’ve come down with a rather nasty ear infection two days before I’m " at The Pearl Qatar - 1868358443686300697
The Pearl Qatar Report Share Download 120 648

It was my birthday yesterday, but I was sick. Yup, I’ve come down with a rather nasty ear infection two days before I’m due to start my RAI treatment for thyroid cancer. The way things have gone in 2018, I wasn’t even surprised! — I cancelled plans and stayed in bed instead, where I wrote the most important blog post of my life to date. — On the blog today I’m telling you all about my cancer journey, and my top tips for YOU to protect your thyroid health. This common cancer is growing in prevalence, but if caught early it can be one of the easiest cancers to get rid of. Please be more savvy than I was and get clued up on thyroid health by reading my post (link in bio). 💛☀️ —