The Test of Time

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I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately. This is mainly because I’m leaving the town I grew up in, and am faced daily with the question of ‘aren’t you gonna miss things?’. If I’m being honest, leaving Bournemouth has always been a fairly easy decision for me because other than my family, I haven’t felt like I have that many other ties to this place. I’ve quite honestly felt like I’ve had no friends in Bournemouth for quite some time now.

I was one of the only people in my group of friends who didn’t go to university after sixth form, and I maintain to this day that that was the right decision for me, but it did mean I isolated myself quite early on. Even before we left school, I was getting a bit sick of hearing everyone talk non-stop about what uni they were going to, sorting things out etc, and although they’d probably never admit it, I know that my friends judged the decision that I made in choosing not to go.

So I left them drift away. I kept in touch with a few, and there would be the occasional gathering when people were back at Christmas or in the summer, but again I tended to steer clear for fear of that inferiority feeling I would get around them. Just over two years ago was the last time I went to a party with these friends, and to be honest, it was great, and I was starting to feel a little more confident about being around people again, but then a personal situation messed everything up, and I pulled myself away again because there were two people in the group that I couldn’t face seeing again. I’m still in a group chat with all these people, but I stay silent, and I can’t bring myself to show up to any of these gatherings.

But that’s just back story, and not what this post is really about.

Yesterday I ran into an old friend in the supermarket. He was one of my best friends during my last few years of school, but he went off to uni and although we’d occasionally chat on Facebook, it’s been about 2-3 years since I saw him last, and even those times would have been fairly brief.

So when I saw him in the supermarket my head went two ways. The first was ‘oh my gosh I need to go and talk to him’, and the other was ‘he probably really doesn’t care about seeing me’. Luckily, the first won out. We stood and caught up right in the middle of an aisle in Sainsbury’s, and d’you know what? It was so good to talk to him again.

We talked like old friends, which is exactly what we are, but it wasn’t one of those conversations you have with someone you used to know, where you just blurt out whatever’s happening in your own life and don’t really pay attention to what they’re saying back, it was a proper conversation. Old jokes from years ago were being thrown about, nothing was fake or forced and I walked away at the end of it with the biggest smile on my face.

I guess through all the recent years where I haven’t felt like I had that many friends, I forgot about the friends that are still there even when you can’t see them. The true friends that no matter how many miles are between you or how many months or years go by will still always consider you to be a friend, and treat you like a friend, and sometimes it just takes an unexpected moment to remind you of those things.

Tackling Self Doubt

I think you’d have to be pretty damn confident to not ever suffer from just a smidgen of self doubt every now and then. Or this just might be how I, a severe lacker of confidence, feels about the matter. You tell me. Anyway..

Self doubt is that little voice in your head that pops up from time to time and tries to knock you down a peg or two (or a hundred) whenever you’re feeling good about yourself, or an aspect of your life; for me, the subjects that hit me hardest are related to my blog or my businesses. In fact, I’m so used to these little episodes now that at the same time as totally sucking, I know that they’re just a phase that will inevitably pass, but I’ve also started to develop my own little coping tactics for when that sinking feeling starts to take over.

Firstly, I vent

Self doubt is absolutely no good bottled up, so I tweet about it, or stick something on my Instagram story. It might look attention seeking to some, y’know, the whole ‘I feel like I’m rubbish at everything I do’ sorta thing, but I honestly am not fishing for any compliments when I do this, its just better out than in. Sometimes I don’t even vent publicly, and its a message to a friend, or a quick chat with someone, just to get it off my chest and out of my head, where otherwise I know it will fester into an endless pit of suckiness.

Then I take time out

Because a lot of my self doubt is about my small business, if I’m having a bit of a time of it, I step away, and its the same with my blog. Forcing something out doesn’t often lead to the best results, and sometimes stepping away gives you a chance to miss what you love, which motivates you to get back to it after a little bit of time. This doesn’t even have to be a vast amount of time; it can be as small as 10 minutes to go and get a drink or check your phone.

Next, I remind myself I am awesome

I don’t often compliment myself, but its always when I’m struck with self doubt that I find myself being nice to myself. Its a bit cliche but I give myself a proper pep talk and really hype myself up, but not to the point that I’m big headed, just enough to kick myself back into gear again and then I let my actions do the talking again.

And then I back it up with proof

Often, I need more than just the hype to really see my worth again, but I think that’s just because I’m a proof-liking person. So I pull up my Etsy sales, or my blog stats, or I look back at something to show how far I’ve come, and suddenly all the words I’ve been telling myself to make me feel better are actual truths, not just motivational rubbish.

Then, I can get back and smash it

I always like to come back fighting, so I get back to things with all guns blazing. Sometimes that means I have to fake a little bit of confidence, but as the old saying goes, you’ve gotta fake it ’til you make it, right?

And remember, just because you doubt yourself, doesn’t mean anyone else doubts you.

Self doubt is just that – yourself. These feelings can come and go and come back again over and over, but I bet through all this you’ve got your own little cheer squad who believe in you no matter what you think of yourself. These people will be your rock through these moments. Believe what they tell you.

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Another Mid Year Review

And just like that, half of 2018 has been and gone.. What?

This has honestly been the craziest year of my life, the last few months especially, and I’ve definitely been swept up in all of the goings on which has probably caused the year to fly by so much, but I can quite confidently say that its been a great year so far.

How am I doing with my blog targets?

  • Bloglovin followers – 1500 – I must admit that I have been super rubbish with Bloglovin lately, so I definitely haven’t seen the same growth that I achieved last year, but I’m on 1179 right now, and I think if I kick myself back into gear for the next 6 months, this is still reachable!
  • Twitter followers – 3500 – I can’t remember what I was on at the start of the year, but I’m just over 3200 at the moment so I feel like this is going to be doable!
  • Instagram followers – 2500 – after a measly 2017 where I didn’t hit my target at all, I feel like I have really smashed Instagram this year, and now have over 3300 followers, having only hit 2000 sometime in January! I’m setting myself a new possible target of 4000 for before the year is out, but I’m not putting too much pressure on myself because we all know what it can be like!
  • Page views – 100,000 – well I’m just coming up to 85,000 now, so this is definitely in sight so long as I manage to keep up my content!

I’ve felt myself slip a lot with my blog this year, which I’ve hated but its been somewhat necessary with everything that’s gone on this year. I’ve been posting a lot less than I have done over previous years, but what is good is that I’ve learnt that this is totally ok.

There’s a lot more exciting things coming to the blog over the rest of the year, including lots more house related posts, my 1000th blog post will be coming in July, and in October my blog turns 5, so stay tuned!

Resolutions, goals and life

Looking back on my 2018 resolutions post, I feel quite happy in knowing that I’ve achieved a lot of these things. Despite occasional dips, I’ve been looking after myself a lot better and putting myself out there more, and I’ve surrounded myself with wonderful people who make me so happy. My love of photography has definitely come back, and my sewing has gone to new levels I couldn’t even have imagined back in January.

The only thing that’s really hit a major roadblock this year has been my marathon training, after breaking my ankle back in April, but I’m seeing definite improvements in physiotherapy, and I’ve even taken part in my first fun run since the accident recently, which makes me confident that I’ll be back out there very soon, and if you want to sponsor me for my marathon, you can do that here!

I’ve learned a lot in the last few months about so many things, but the rest of the year will be focusing on putting so many of these things into practice. My whole life is changing as of the end of the week when I officially become a Northerner, and I’m seeing this as an amazing opportunity to create and live my best life and become even happier.

I hope 2018 is treating everyone well, and the rest of it only gets better!

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Long Distance to Close Quarters

They say time flies when you’re having fun. Well I’m here to tell you that it frickin’ rockets when you’re in love.

Two years ago today I wrote a super personal post, telling the internet about this guy that I had been on two dates with that was flying out to New Zealand for at least 4 months, and that we had taken a fairly big leap of faith in committing to try and make it work. That was the day that I became Matthew’s girlfriend.

Two years later, we have been living together for almost a year, and in only a week’s time we’ll officially be moving in to our own home after a couple of stressful months.

I’m in no way the perfect girlfriend. I can be stubborn, I get hangry and I steal the covers sometimes, but I want to be better because I’ve never been happier. I’ve found the person who shares in my excitement of going to Home Bargains, who reminds me at 9 o’clock every evening that Love Island is on if I’ve been distracted by something, and patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) takes 400 photos of the same outfit until I’m totally happy with them.

We didn’t get to where we are today on the same normal path that most relationships take, but I wouldn’t change it for the world, and our adventure is still only just beginning. I don’t believe that anything in life is easy, but it’s a whole lot easier when you’ve got the right person standing there with you, no matter what.

What I’m Doing With My Time Off

Next Friday is my last day at work before I officially make the big move up north. I could have left at the end of this week, which is what Matthew is doing, but because I work in finance I decided to do the nice thing and hang around to sort out June’s month end accounts instead of leaving my team before the busiest week of the month, so I’ve got just over a week still to go!

July is going to be the biggest month of my life; the month I officially fly not only the nest, but the town I grew up in and have lived in my whole life up til now, and there’s going to be so much to get used to, along with getting properly settled into the new house, unpacking and decorating etc, so I decided a little while ago that I wasn’t going to rush into finding a new job immediately, and instead take July off for a bit of me time, but also a bit of ‘getting stuff done’ time.

Enjoy summer

I haven’t got to just enjoy a summer off since I was at school. I’ve taken some annual leave at work, but only ever for trips abroad, so its been ages since I’ve been able to just laze about in the sun, sit out in the garden and have endless bbqs.

Vamping up old blog posts

For the longest time now I’ve been meaning to go back over some of my old blog posts from before I edited photos or made pretty flatlays and spruce them up with new photos and a little bit of editing because there are so many posts that I loved writing and would love to share more, but feel a little embarrassed when I see dull or rushed photos.

Life admin

Moving comes with so much work you don’t even think about, like updating address on everything from bank accounts and credit cards to electoral rolls, and I just know that its not going to be straightforward given that our address still doesn’t exist on most systems..

Explore my new home

Although I’ve been to Manchester more in the last few months than I had done in my whole life beforehand, I still don’t know much of the city passed the Trafford Centre, not to mention the towns surrounding Winsford and the rest of the North West region.

Starting matched betting

I’ve been thinking about trying matched betting for a little while now, but I’ll actually have some time to put into it and hopefully I’ll be able to reap the rewards if I don’t mess it up too much! Luckily I have some excellent guides who are well experienced in it to help me along the way, so I’m really hoping for good results..

Working for little old me

While I’m calling July my ‘time off’, I will still be busting my butt for my small businesses, and July will give me the opportunity to see if I can do well enough to take what I do full time, so I’ll appreciate any orders that come my way through the month!

Working ON little old me

I’m really just looking forward to having some time for myself, and being able to take the time to get my life on track. I’ll have time to cook proper meals, get back into marathon training and work on feeling better about myself.

I’m not counting down the days, promise..

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My Best Self

I’ve been thinking about myself a lot recently, but not in a narcissistic sort of way. You see lately, I haven’t always been liking myself that much.

Its no secret that there is a lot going on in my life right now. Matthew and I have just bought our first house, and I am in the process of moving away from my home town, which has been massively drawn out as I’m still working my notice period in my current job. I’ve felt in a real state of limbo over the last few weeks, and honestly its been getting to me a bit. I feel so on top of certain aspects of my life, while simultaneously drowning in others, and this position has been messing with me more than anything else. To put it simply, I just haven’t felt like I’ve been my best self lately.

I’ve not been doing the things that make me happy. I love going to the gym in the morning, and normally that’s at least 4 times a week, but lately I’ve been struggling with managing twice a week due to just feeling overwhelmingly tired and unmotivated most mornings when my alarm goes off. There’s a little voice in my head that tells me I should go back to sleep instead of getting up, and it just keeps winning out.

I haven’t even been making an effort with my appearance lately. Makeup has been absolutely non-existent on my face, with the exception of a little eyebrow maintenance, and instead of dressing how I like dressing, I’ve just been throwing on whatever I can find, which primarily has been baggy, stretchy trousers and loose tops, and I tell myself that it’s more comfortable but I just end up feeling like a slob all day.

This just isn’t the me that I want to be. I’m losing confidence and it’s all my own doing – like another part of me is sabotaging everything that the good part of me is trying to do. I keep telling myself that it’s just a phase that I’m going through while everything is up in the air, and I just hope to god that that’s true and that it will all sort itself out very soon, but I’m not going to stand by and wait for it to happen; I’m making changes.

Sometimes it’s not always possible to be your best self, and that’s completely ok, but when it’s making you unhappy, you don’t have to just stand by and watch it spiral out of control. I’m going to do my best to by my best from today onwards.

Things You Will Need On Moving Day

Ok, so you won’t need all this

Although I’m technically still in the process of flying the nest, Matthew and I have already had our first moving day into our new house, and for me, it was my first ever moving day.

Having never moved out from my parents until now, I had absolutely no idea what to expect, and as our moving process has been a slow one and we didn’t have to do it all in one weekend, I wasn’t even very sure about what we’d necessarily need to bring to the house with us straight away. Luckily, we had my mum and dad to help out with some of the basics, but there were also a number of things that no one thought about, so whether you’re moving for the first time or the hundredth time, here are the things I’ve learned that you will need in your new place from day one.

Toilet paper

If it wasn’t for my dad, we would have all been caught short in our house when we arrived. Even if its just a couple of rolls to cover you until you can take a trip to the shops, its a necessity.

Hand soap

As well as for obvious reasons, moving house can be messy business. Dusty boxes, moving furniture, you name it, your hands will be covered it it.

Towels

This was something that we didn’t have on our first weekend, with the exception of the one towel I brought in my weekend bag for showering, and while I’d never thought towels to be a real necessity, every time I washed my hands I was stuck. If nothing else, chuck a couple of hand towels in the moving van.

Scissors

There will be more things that will need cutting than you could ever imagine, bring as many pairs as you own.

Bin bags

This seems obvious, but we managed to forget them. You can never have too many bin bags.

Basic tools

You probably don’t need the whole of B&Q at the ready, but your basics like screwdrivers, maybe a drill and a level will make your life a lot easier. The last thing you’re gonna want to do is have to run out to the shops when you want to put up a shelf there and then but don’t have the tools for the job.

Folding chairs/beanbags/cushions

If, like us, you’re moving for the first time and don’t have all your furniture yet, you’re going to need something to sit on, even if its just temporary. We didn’t have a sofa, or any dining chairs, but we did have a giant bean bag, and my dad also packed a couple of fold up camping chairs which meant we didn’t have to all sit on the floor while we ate out traditional moving day take out food.

I think moving day is probably a different experience for everyone, but hopefully these little tips will help with a couple of the little things that make moving so much less stressful!

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