Doing Nothing

In recent months, I’ve noticed an interesting shift in myself. Obviously there’s been so much change in my life in the last few months, and I know that that’s exactly the reason why, but this has felt like such a significant change that I haven’t really known what to do about it.

That change? I’ve learnt to enjoy doing nothing.

I know it seems totally harmless, and probably a little strange too, but pretty much since I was 16, I’ve always filled my time with as many things as I possibly could, and for the last few years even more so. For the last (almost) five years, I’ve been blogging alongside working full time, as well as running my various small businesses, so when I wasn’t working, I was working for myself or writing. Days off were never really days off, but I was cool with that. In order to fit everything into my days, I would be up at 5.30am most mornings, and I had no problem with that at all because I was doing it for me.

Since we moved, all that has changed. As I’ve taken my small business full time, I haven’t needed to cram everything into every hour of the day because I now spend my 9-5 doing all the work I used to fit into evenings and weekends. Suddenly I have all the free time I used to complain about not having – but would always fill with stuff even when I did get it – and the thing is, I’ve started to like it. This might seem totally ridiculous to some, but its such a new thing to me that its thrown me a little.

While it may not seem like a problem, its starting to become one, as the motivation and drive that used to push me to do everything I loved is ebbing away. I now LOVE having lie-ins, so I don’t get up and go to the gym in the morning. I now spend my evenings watching rubbish on TV and scrolling through Instagram videos for longer than I care to say. Its wonderful and frustrating at the same time, because there’s still something in my head that feels like this is wasted time when I should be doing something else, but I also don’t really have that much else to do. Its like I want to be doing more but at the same time I really love the nothingness, so there’s a constant conflict in my head.

Am I being crazy? Well probably – only I would feel guilty for enjoying myself! I know that I still have so many things to adapt to, what with turning my life upside down a little bit, but everything takes time and as Winnie the Pooh said in Christopher Robin: doing nothing often leads to the best kind of something.

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Things I Am When I’m Not A Disney Fan

Because its what I talk about 90% of the time, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Disney is all I really care about. Truth is, though, there are actually a lot of other fandoms that I belong to, and while I might not always talk about them as much, many of them mean as much to me as Disney does.

I have loved Lord of the Rings since the first film came out. I was only 7 when the first movie came out (2001), so no, I hadn’t read all the books before seeing the films, but I have read them all now. The movies were a HUGE part of my childhood, and once we had them on DVD, me and my sister would watch them at least once a month, if not most weekends – all extended versions, for any other fans who care about these things. As well as the story itself, we became obsessed with all of the behind the scenes features on the DVDs (there are two discs worth for each film), which we’ve watched way more times than is probably considered normal.

The last Lord of the Rings film, Return of the King, was actually the first film I ever cried at. I was 9 years old at the time, and I wasn’t crying because the end of the film was sad, I was crying because I was sad that it was the last Lord of the Rings film, and there wouldn’t be any more movies; this was way before any of The Hobbit films had been announced.

I also LOVE musicals. Its probably the only thing that makes me wish I lived in London because I could quite easily go to a show every night. I saw a lot of musicals as a young kid because my parents have always been musical fans, but it wasn’t until I was about 11/12 that I really got into them. I’m super lucky to have seen a lot of musicals on West End, and even a handful on Broadway, and my all time favourite musical is Rent, with other favourites including Avenue Q (which is actually the musical I’ve seen the most times), Wicked and Spamalot. I’ve also seen a lot of the classics, like Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, and I even saw Cats when I was very young.

And even though I’ve actually seen more musicals than I can even remember sometimes, I’ve still got a list as long as my arm of more shows that I would love to see, with the top of the list being Legally Blonde and Hamilton.

I’m also a Potterhead, I love building Lego and doing sudokus and I’m a sucker for a crime/detective show on TV (I’m patiently awaiting the return of Death in Paradise). Disney is a huge part of my life, but I am more than just a Disney fan.

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The Reality of Relocating

Moving house can be a stressful time for anyone, whether it’s your first or hundredth time. Ok, so maybe you’ll have it nailed by your hundredth time, but you know what I mean.

You are, quite literally, packing up a life, and all of the moments and memories that go with it, into boxes and bags, and taking that life somewhere else. For a lot of people, that somewhere else probably isn’t all that far from where it was before, but when you’re relocating, that life of yours in boxes has got a hell of a way to go.Choosing to relocate wasn’t actually a difficult decision for me because I always knew it was coming, I just didn’t necessarily know exactly where it would be to, but quite honestly, the relocation side of things got a little bit lost in the excitement of buying the house, so it’s only been since actually moving in that the reality of relocating has actually dawned on me.I have to use a satnav to drive EVERYWHERE. The only place I can get to without it is the supermarket and even then I’m lucky because I only have to drive down two roads to get there. I don’t actually know where my nearest A&E department is, so here’s praying I don’t need it any time soon, and I also need to find a GP surgery, dentist and opticians nearby because I can’t really drive the 4 hours back to my current ones..I also have an endless list of things I need to update, from my driving licence to my bank accounts, credit cars, car insurance plus delivery addresses on all of my regular online stores. I’m quite lucky that my previous address is my parents house, so if any posts ends up there it’s not the end of the world, but it’s such an important thing to sort out if not.Criminally, I now have no idea what the good takeaway places are. So far I know we have a Dominos, and we’ve had a decent fish and chips, but there’s been one awful Chinese and that makes me quite sad. I do feel a little isolated. It’s the first time I’ve lived away from my family ever, and as even Matthew’s been working away over the last few weeks I have been somewhat on my own. I mean, I’m pretty good with my own company, but it’s a little bit hard not knowing where I am too well and also not having anyone to explore with, but these things will come with time.Now none of this is to say that this has been a bad experience for me at all, in fact I’ve relished the challenge of it, but it is a completely new life that I’m having to make now, and I think until that life is built properly I probably will feel a little displaced, but you know that they say, all good things to those who wait..

My Life With A Lisp

So something that hardly anyone will know about me, because you only read what I say and don’t hear it, is that I have a lisp, and as far as I’m aware, I have done my whole life.

I say as far as I’m aware because if I’m being perfectly honest, I can’t remember what age it was when I realised I had it, but it was a LOT later in life than you’d think; I’m pretty sure it may not have been until I was in my teens. Now I’m sure you’re thinking ‘how on earth could you not know you have a lisp for all those years?’, and well, I think I thought the same thing, but when I started to think about the reason why, its actually pretty amazing. Quite simply, I never knew, because no one ever made a fuss of it. My family never mentioned it, or treated me any differently (with the exception of my nan, who I remember trying to train me out of it when I was very little, except at the time I had no idea that’s what she was doing), and I think that’s a pretty great thing, because I think had I been treated any way but normal, I’d have been so much more conscious of it, and felt a lot worse.

Fast forward to the point that I discovered my lisp, and I felt a lot of questions got answered. I knew there was something about the way I spoke that wasn’t quite right, but I could never put my finger on it. I had been teased a little in primary school, but never understood why, and I just became increasingly nervous about talking in front of people that I didn’t know. When I realised that I’d been speaking with a lisp all these years, it made sense, but it didn’t solve my problems.

I have what I guess is considered the ‘normal’ lisp, where I don’t quite pronounce the letter ‘s’ correctly. Being aware of it only made it harder. At this time, I was doing a lot of singing, and I quickly found myself worrying about song lyrics, trying to avoid songs that had too many words starting with an s, and I even started doing this with general conversation. While talking, I’d be rapidly thinking ahead to the next few words I knew would come out of my mouth, and often rewording phrases on the spot so that I wouldn’t use words starting with s too often. My brain was like a constant thesaurus.

Being aware of the ‘problem’ meant I was also that much more aware of the little comments or jokes that I’d previously been able to naively brush over. As a teenager I had a lot of guy friends, and while the majority wouldn’t dream of making fun of me, there’s always a few teenage boys who think they’re funny to make little digs, and of course I’d never let them see that it was bothering me, but it did, and this just drove me further into avoiding the letter as much as I could.

I also can’t remember at what point I got over this. Who knows, maybe I haven’t and I’ve just got better at it, but I certainly don’t feel in any way as self-conscious as I used to. I do also think I’ve maybe started to grow out of it more over recent years; I’m certainly not going to kid myself into believing its totally gone, but I do feel like I notice it less. But the fact is, there is nothing wrong with the way I talk. It my voice, slight hiss or not, and I’m learning to accept it. I think back to the many many years when I had no idea I even had a lisp, and I’m actually so grateful that I was never treated differently, or taken to speech therapy, because if anything I’ve owned it for so long that I’m not going to stop owning it.

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Moving In Update #3 – I’m In!

Well gang, after all this time I have officially been living in our new house for almost two weeks now, yay! I had my last day at work on July 6th, and moved up on the 9th, so here I am, official northerner now.

Since then, however, I haven’t had much of a chance to stop and breathe. The first week was a blur of multiple Ikea and B&Q trips, drilling holes and going through so many packs of wall plugs and command strips I lost count, but all that work means that we are now pretty much finished with every room in the house!

There’s still a few bugs to work out; we still have no internet which is part of the reason I’ve not been blogging in all this time, because I’m having to tether my laptop to the 4G on my phone which has DRAINED my data allowance – its crazy to think about how reliant we are on wifi now! We’re also still lacking a dining table and chairs, so we’re still eating on the sofa or off the coffee table, but in reality that’s just because we keep forgetting to order them, and we have yet to get a washing machine, so laundry involves either going to Matthew’s mum’s, or as I’ve been going back to Bournemouth on weekends for hospital appointments, taking a basket of washing to do at my parents!

Apart from these little things, our to-do list is getting considerably smaller, and is mainly small things like shelves needing to be put up, actually unpacking the boxes that are building up in our garage and getting more decorative items up and around, but this has really become our space now.

I’ve still not really had much of a chance to stop and relax, but I’m hoping this next week might be the week I can actually start working through the list of things I wanted to get done once I moved in. I’ve got so much house content planned, including full before and after posts on some of our rooms, how we got some of the amazing bargains that we did and so much more, so I really hope you’re not getting too bored of this stuff yet because it has only really started!

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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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