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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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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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.

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.

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.