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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Its Okay That My Blog Has Taken A Back Seat

I’ve talked a lot lately (or at least it feels like it) about how I’ve been struggling a little with blogging; not finding the time for it, perpetual writers block and general lack of focus and motivation. I’ve blamed so many factors, then promised myself I won’t let it happen again, and then it does, and the cycle continues.

I’ve been thinking a lot of about it, and I think I’ve finally come up with an explanation that I’m happy with.

For so long, my blog has been my life. Its been the constant source of pride and happiness in my life when my life hasn’t always been perfect. I worked for so long in dead end jobs that didn’t make me happy, so I loved having something that gave me a sense of purpose, and so I dedicated myself to it; if I wasn’t working, I was working on my blog, and that made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile.

But things have changed now. My life feels fulfilled in so many ways. I have a house, I have a job doing what I love, and there are so many things in my life that make me happy now, so the happiness and sense of fulfilment that my blog used to give me is already there. I don’t feel like I NEED to blog to be happy.

Of course, I still love my blog. I love writing and it makes me happy, so its not something that I think I’ll ever really give up, but I think I can finally let go of the need to publish 5-6 new posts every week like I used to. I can let go of the pressure to create content and go back to just loving creating the content when I do.

Now that I have realised this, I have found a sense of peace with my blog that I think I really needed. I was starting to think that because I couldn’t keep up with my old posting schedule that I should just give up altogether, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, its whatever I want it to be, and I want it to be the thing that makes me happy again.

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Would You Change Your Online Self?

Image from Channel 4 website

I don’t know about you, but I have been glued to The Circle on Channel 4!

If you don’t watch it or know what it is, The Circle is a reality TV show where a group of people are living in the same building, but are only allowed to communicate through a specially created social media platform, and because they never see each other, they can choose to be whoever they want to be, with the aim of the game being to be popular. Some people are being themselves, some are hiding or changing certain aspects of their lives/personalities, and some are being completely different people altogether. Every few days, players rate each other, and the most popular players get to choose who out of the least popular players get ‘blocked’ and have to leave the show.

As well as obviously being entertaining, I’m finding it fascinating. We, the viewers, obviously get to see exactly who these people really are, and see what they actually do, say, think and act like when they know the other players can’t see, and it is really interesting to see what goes on behind the screen.

Being a person who does put so much of myself online, I know of course that I don’t share everything, and I would hope that most people know that. I don’t share all the bad stuff, and I often don’t share all the good but mundane stuff that happens in my day to day life, but personality wise, I am completely myself. But this show got me thinking: would I ever change myself in order to be more liked?

Well, without wanting to sound big-headed, I like to think that I’m not disliked online, or at least if I am its by people who aren’t vocal about it, or who are mature enough to just unfollow me and be done with it. Equally, I could probably be more popular. I could have tens of thousands of followers who all think I’m amazing, but I can’t help but think what or who would I have to become to do that? I like who I am (for the most part), and I don’t actually know what I would need to do to become more popular. Would I be more liked if I was the same person, but prettier? Do I need to change my personality to be more liked? Its so hard to say, but when I think about it, if I was anyone but myself, they wouldn’t be liking me for who I really am, and I don’t want that.

Comparing myself to players in The Circle, I definitely think I’m most like Kate. I try to be nice to everyone, and I do prefer to keep some opinions to myself rather than stirring the pot, choosing instead to confide to my close friends rather than openly bashing the beliefs or opinions of others that I don’t agree with. I personally don’t think any of these things make me a bad person, and these traits are what made Kate so popular for the first few ratings, but now a lot of players are finding her niceness annoying, which makes me worry a little bit whether everyone thinks I’m annoying. Its interesting and terrifying at the same time!

So I put this to you, people of the internet, would you ever portray yourself differently online, just so people liked you more?

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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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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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How Relateable Do Bloggers Actually Have To Be?

I’ve been thinking a lot about bloggers and relate-ability lately. Let’s face it, the aim of the game for most bloggers is to create content that people are going to want to read, right? But do readers always want to see something that they can relate to?

I recently read a really interesting post by Hannah from The Giraffe’s Life about why Zoella is considered by many to be unrelateable, and I agreed with many of the points put forward; personally I’ve never really been that bothered by Zoella anyway. But regardless of whether or not her millions of fans actually relate to her life of million pound mansions, jetting off to 5 star hotels and being on the cover of every magazine under the sun, they still want to watch her videos and read her posts, which got me thinking about whether or not bloggers do actually need to be relateable?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I kinda like reading about things that I would never actually be able to do myself. Clickbait-y titles like ‘I spent £700 in Primark’ are intriguing, and I can’t help but want to see what on earth was purchased to rack up that receipt total.

From my own stats, I know that my most popular posts are my holiday diaries, especially when I’m in Disney parks, and while I’d love to live in a world where being in Disney parks is considered everyday, I know that it isn’t.

And yes, on the flipside I do love a high end makeup dupe, a budget city break and quick, easy recipe posts, but I’m also super nosey and would love to see what it was like at the latest Spectrum release party, because it’s something that I’d never get to experience myself.

I think also that there’s a huge difference between the relate-ability of a blogger and the relate-ability of their content. A relateable blogger could do the most unrelateable activities, and I’d still read what crazy stuff they’d be up to, but an unrelateable blogger could buy five things under £5 from Primark and I’d have that little meh feeling when I read it, so I guess in that respect relate-ability is kinda important.

These are just my own personal musings on the subject, I’d love to hear your thoughts so drop me a comment!

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