‘Where Have You Been?’ Uh, France.. and other places

If anyone out there is still with me after all this time, then hey. Also, I hope there are a couple of Hamilton fans out there that appreciate the title of this post.

Six weeks. This has been the longest semi-accidental blogging break I’ve ever had, and I call it accidental because I didn’t really intend to take all of this time away, but the fact is there has just been a whole lot going on and in all this time I haven’t had the time, motivation or inspiration really to be writing 4/5 posts a week. I’m not going to apologise for this – I doubt anyone cares that much anyway. I call it semi-accidental because I did realise this a few weeks back, but I decided I’d wait for a new month, clean slate, fresh start etc, and for me there’s nothing more satisfying than a month that starts on a Monday.

So I’m back. Is this an April Fool? Who knows, we’ll see if I can actually keep it up this time, y’know, after I’ve been saying for the best part of the last year that I would get back on top of blogging and failed every single time I tried, but I think I’ve got a good feeling about this one. Blogging certainly doesn’t hold the same place in my life that it used to, but I still think its a pretty big part of who I am and I’m not ready to let go of that just yet.

All jokes in the title of this post aside, since the last time I touched base on the blog, I have actually been to France, and by that I mean Disneyland Paris. I’ve also had my best friends come to stay at my house for a weekend for the first time since we moved in, I’ve been on a little staycation in Kent with my family and Matthew and I went on a weekend trip to Berlin a week ago, so I have been all over the place really, and even when I haven’t been moving around, I haven’t exactly had time to stop. My business has truly taken over my life, but its been super exciting and I’ve spent the last two weeks working on my very own shop website, which launched on Friday.

Time to relax now? Well, I’m pretty excited to say that next week I’m headed for Disneyland! I don’t yet know if I’ll be live-blogging or will post trip reports once I’m home – I’m trying pretty hard to live in the moment right now – but I’ll definitely be sharing everything that will be happening on this trip, including my first ever Dapper Day! It does mean that this week I might do a little ‘pack with me’ type post showing you some of the outfits and park essentials I’ll be taking with me, but honestly I’m just becoming super overwhelmed with excitement as its been almost 2 years since I was last in Disneyland, which seems insane to me.

What else? To be honest, I’m not too sure if I’ve missed anything out – I know this post has been kinda super rambly – but the long and short of it is that I’m still here, and hopefully I’m back for good this time *crosses fingers*

TTFN

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2018: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

It would seem that this end of December break from blogging has become somewhat of a regular occurrence, but honestly it does me a whole lot of good, and here I am, back and ready to take 2019 blogging by the metaphorical horns.

I’ve probably said this a hundred times this year, but 2018 has been a total whirlwind. Its been full of major highs and also some pretty sucky lows, and while I’m not normally one for looking back at the end of the year, there’s a lot to be said about the past 364 days.

The Good

Well, its been a year of BIG things. Matthew finally finished his pilot training and started flying, we bought a frickin’ HOUSE and we got the most beautiful puppy in the world. We visited San Francisco and spent a week living it up in the beautiful Aulani Resort in Hawaii, as well as becoming Disneyland Paris annual pass holders.

This year I also took the leap into self-employment, turning my small business into a full-time job which has been an absolute dream come true, I’ve managed to grow my Instagram more than I imagined would be possible and I’ve spent some of the best times with my closest friends.

The Bad

As I’ve mentioned several times throughout the year, blogging has taken a major back seat for the majority of 2018. I started of the year stronger than I ever have before, but life and many other things got in the way and although it wasn’t easy for me to admit, it was easier for me to let blogging go a little while I focused on the new things that had become more important.

There’s also been a whole lotta change that will take me a little bit of time to adjust to. I’ve moved so far away from my hometown and my family, and that’s still something that I need to work on getting used to, and there has been so much going on that we’ve hardly had time to stop and breathe, so there’s been a lot of feeling constantly overwhelmed.

The Ugly

2018 has also had some pretty sucky times. I’ve struggled a lot with body image, which after such a positive 2017 felt even harder than it could have. I haven’t always talked about it as much as I could have done, but its done a real number on my mental health, and breaking my ankle back in April only made things worse. Honestly, I’m fed up of feeling the way that I do, and I’m determined that 2019 will be the end of it.

I’ve also spent far too much time in 2018 comparing myself to others, so much so that I let an incredible achievement – being nominated for the 2018 UK Blog Awards – go practically unnoticed because I was so sure that compared to the other nominees, I stood so little a chance that I didn’t even think I should ask for people to vote for me.

The Future

I’ve decided that 2019 will be the good, the better and the best; no bad, no ugly, just happiness. I already know that its going to be so full of magic and love and friendship, so I just have to keep filling it with only good things and positive energy. Tomorrow I’m going to be sharing my New Years Resolutions and goals and these are just going to be the stepping stones that make 2019 the best year yet.

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Rebuilding

You ever see those funny triangle diagrams floating around on the Internet, where each side is labelled with something we aspire for in life, like ‘good job’ or ‘social life’ or something similarly cliche, and then it’s captioned something like ‘you can only have two, what do you choose’?

These viral posts tend to have their comment sections full of people saying how much they relate to the ideas suggested by it, that we can’t ever seem to really have it all, but I never subscribed to that belief myself.

I always thought that I could have it all. I was *that* person who prided herself on working full time AND maintaining a blog AND being able to go to the gym every morning and while I’ve never really had much of a social life, that was mainly down to the fact that I never lived near to any of my friends, but I still found the time to go and see them and we still talked every day, but I also lived with my boyfriend and I saw my family every weekend.

Reading that, you’d think that I did have it all; it sure as hell sounds like it. But behind all that, there are some shortcomings: I still lived with my parents (not that I ever really minded that), and I worked in a job that didn’t truly make me happy, and that wasn’t a career for me.

Fast forward to today. I now own a home with said boyfriend, we have a puppy and I am living my self-employed dream. The social life aspect hasn’t really changed, although I am a little bit closer to some friends now so I do get to see them more often. This is all wonderful, and I am truly happy for all of this, but some of the walls of that triangle (or more like a hexagon) are crumbling. It would only take you a few minutes of scrolling back through my blog to see that I’ve gone from posting 5-6 times a week to going over 3 weeks without writing anything. I now live 250 miles away from the family that I adore, and as for going to the gym every morning, I can’t actually remember the last time I got in a workout.

I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, because my life is incredible in so many ways, but each one of these things is an aspect of who I am, and I feel like by losing these things I am losing sight of who I am, and I’m now becoming one of those people retweeting that triangle diagrams saying ‘I feel attacked’. I don’t want to believe that these silly little sketches are true, I want to go back to feeling that little bit smug thinking that really I do have it all.

My life has changed a lot in the past 6 months, and I guess if anything I was naive to think that it would all be easy, because nothing about it has been, but what’s the fun in things being easy, right? There’s no shame in being vulnerable, but I’m ready to start rebuilding these aspects of my life, and rediscovering the person that I used to, and want to be.

She’s in here somewhere, just under a nice little layer of comfort podge, y’know, from avoiding going to the gym for too long, but she’ll be back, just you wait.

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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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Why Can’t I Write Anymore?

I tell you something, the number of times that I have opened up a new blog post to write something, only to stare at the screen for 10 minutes, then find something else to do to distract myself from it and eventually close it again in the last few weeks is unreal. I even sit with my blog planner to brainstorm new post ideas and my brain is just empty. It sucks.

I swear this always happens when I actually have the time to write. Now I’m self-employed and working from home, I thought I’d have so much more time to dedicate to my blog, rather than just cramming it into evenings and weekends, but I’m actually just finding so many other things that are taking up my time, and even when I do sit down to blog, I’m hit with a brick wall of no inspiration.

I guess the fact is that maybe I just don’t have anything to write about right now. In the last month I haven’t really bought any new products to review, as most of my money has gone into house things, and I’ve been so back and forth between Bournemouth and Cheshire that I haven’t really got out and about either, plus with Matthew being away for the last 6 weeks, progression on house decorating has been fairly non-existent. I guess maybe my life has been too boring to be a lifestyle blogger.

The good news, however, is that next week I’ll be in Disneyland Paris, so there’ll be 4 days of live trip blogging, plus hopefully a trip away will bring back some inspiration for new content! I’m also taking a little bit of time away from working this week while Matthew is home, so maybe if I’m not using up all my creativity at my sewing machine I’ll have a little bit more juice to put into blogging. Maybe now I’ve ranted about my inability to write, the universe will send some ideas my way. Who knows, right?

Anyone else go through major writers block phases?

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10 Things Before 10am

Something that I, and many others, I expect, am more than often guilty of is focusing on all the things that I haven’t done or achieved, rather than celebrating all the things that I have done.

And d’you know what? It’s draining.

Whether it’s thinking about work or tasks that I haven’t done, or things in my life that I’ve left to achieve, it leaves a constant nagging feeling of negativity hanging over me, and quite honestly I’ve had enough of it.

So the other week I had quite a productive morning, and naturally as the millennial that I am, I tweeted about all the things that I had managed to do before 10am. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but then this week I found myself mentally taking stock of things I had done that morning and I had somewhat of an epiphany – I achieve so many more things than I don’t, I’ve just conditioned myself to overlook them all.

So I figured it’s time for a reconditioning, and that’s where the title of this post comes from. Every day, no matter how productive, or seemingly unproductive, my morning has been, I take a few minutes to stop and think of ten things that I have done or achieved. Sure, sometimes this list might be padded out with things like getting dressed, brushing my hair or drinking a glass of water, but all of these things count as successes, we just don’t tend to see them that way.

Today’s 10 for me are:

  1. Going for a 5 mile run
  2. Hitting 10,000 steps
  3. Washing my face properly with nice skincare products
  4. Eating a healthy breakfast
  5. Finishing up 2 skirt orders
  6. Scheduling my tweets for the day
  7. Writing this blog post
  8. Planned my meals for the day
  9. Brushed my hair
  10. Moisturised

Now obviously I’m not saying that you have to name ten things, or have to do it at 10am, that’s just what works for me and my schedule, but it’s just so nice to focus on something positive rather than letting that cloud of negativity float about.

I’m working a lot on creating a more positive mind-frame for myself, so watch this space!

I Run, Therefore I Am A Runner

As I make my slow return to running, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term ‘runner’. You see, as I’ve been away from running since the start of April, and have to very carefully ease myself back in on my still-healing ankle, I’ve been feeling like a bit of a bad runner.

And then it hit me.

If I go out and run, that makes me a runner. It doesn’t matter if I go out every day, or once a week, or even less often than that, taking part in the activity of running makes me a runner. It doesn’t matter if I run for 1 minute and then walk for 1 minute. It doesn’t matter if I run for 1 mile or 10 miles. I have never been a fast runner, even at my peak, but d’you know what? A 15 minute mile is just as far as a 7 minute mile.

I’ve never taken running overly seriously. I’ve always written my own training plans, changed things up on the fly, and if I’m being perfectly honest, last year I didn’t really train for any of the half marathons that I ran. I guess I’ve always been lucky to be able to get away with it, but things are different now. I’m finding it hard being so set back from where I was before, and feeling the pressure of my upcoming marathon, but it is just that, a setback. Setbacks are made to be overcome.

But despite all this, I’m still a runner. I don’t have to run a 10K every day to call myself a runner, I don’t have to have a precise training and nutrition plan to call myself a runner, and I don’t have to be a fast runner to call myself a runner. Anyone who gets out and runs is a runner, and that’s what counts.

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