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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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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1000 Blog Posts Later

This is it, blog post #1000.

In reality, this blog post is no different to any other post I’ve written, but it does mark an incredible milestone in my blogging life. Honestly, there are not many things in my life that I have stuck with for this long.

This year has probably been the hardest year for me in terms of blogging. In previous years I have always maintained at least 5-6 blog posts a week, which I know is a pretty impressive achievement considering I’ve always done this along side working full time, but this year there has just been so many other distractions and changes in my life which have got in the way.

D’you know what? That’s ok. The things that have distracted me from blogging this year have been mainly wonderful. So much time has gone into buying and moving into our house, but as the the biggest adventure of my life to date, of course it was going to take priority over blogging, and the great thing about it is that I now have a whole load of new content ideas because of it.

A huge portion of my spare time this year has also gone into my Etsy store. At the start of the year, I set myself a little target of what I wanted to make from my store each month, and when in January I surpassed it within the first week, I knew that something good was happening, and things just got better and better. Well, long story short, now we’ve moved, my Etsy store is now my full time job, along with my other small businesses. In my wildest dreams I did not think I’d be doing this back at the start of the year, but we’re only just a week into August and I’ve already covered my mortgage payment, which makes me so frickin’ proud. It also means that I’m not squeezing custom orders into my evenings and weekends, so hello more time for blogging again!

So 1000 posts later, I’m still here, and I’m still loving this little corner of the internet of mine. In October, Lottie Does will be 5 years old, and of course I’ll be celebrating big time then, but this post is a little mini celebration for me!

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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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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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