Saturday, January 31, 2015

putting your faith in time as a healer...


Since I was a teenager, I've found it hard to switch off my brain and go to sleep, because for the longest time, I've dreaded being alone with my thoughts. When I need to to sleep, my mind decides to replay just about every horrible, shameful, painful, bad and depressing incident in its back catalogue, repeatedly; to the point where I used to be in tears and unable to sleep, staying awake for hours with the TV blaring, just so I didn't have to think about these things. 

I used to think that these things would never change, that I'd never be able to not feel like this, I just assumed that it was how my brain was wired. Therapists gave me endless tips and tricks to dealing with these negative thoughts, but they never seemed to work that well. I was lying in bed last night, trying to will myself to fall asleep, and with a sinking feeling in my stomach, my thoughts drifted to one of these incidents. For some reason, no amount of mindfulness, meditation and rhythmic breathing has ever been able to take my mind off this incident.. 

But there was nothing. There was no deep stomach ache of guilt, the tears never came and I didn't want to vomit or claw my hair out. There was just this hardened little lump in my throat, and then it went away. I was instantly reminded of this quote by Rumi - so much that I got up and went to my notebook and wrote it down several times.

Don't turn away.  Keep your gaze on the bandaged place, that is where the light enters you.

I'm not religious, I believe in people changing things for themselves, to make a difference. Last night when I felt like I was sinking into this horrible place, that would put me in bad mood for days, I realised that something had healed over the wound. There was nothing there except scar tissue, a small something that told me how I used to feel when I revisited that place. No tears, no shame, no guilt, no black rabbit hole... It felt like just a bump in the road, a small skip and then it was gone.

There is little I can attribute this to, except putting my stock in time as healer. That old pithy saying, time heals all wounds, that I've never really believed in, suddenly feels true. I've been working on learning to look after myself, my health, my mental health and suddenly it feels like all my hard work is paying off.

So I just want to let you know that if you're feeling like this: hopefully it will get better. It will all pass one day, and you'll barely notice. You'll be snuggled up in bed on a lazy Saturday morning with it snowing outside, listening to Dusty Springfield with a smile on your face because you know you're getting better.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Q #36

I feel like this about a lot of things in life - like I will never know enough, read enough, learn enough, grow enough... You could see that as a bad thing, but I like to look at as though I'm just eager to learn more. I loved learning new things at university, and I feel like I've given up a bit on that since graduating, and I've stopped my Italian classes too due to some problems with my tutor - so I'm going to try and push myself to learn a bit more, on my own time.
I feel like this ties in nicely with what I was talking about earlier in the week, too.. Sometimes I just want to drink things in, and that to be enough.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

how to: make a blogging planner

how to make a blogging planner
how to make a blogging planner

I've been trying really hard to keep my blog organised this year, it was one of my goals for the year, to try and keep up with my blog whilst working and looking for new jobs. It's hard to keep everything organised and ticking over, and I was always making lists that I would lose or accidentally delete on my phone... Fed up of this, I looked into blogging planners, and all sorts of things, before deciding to make one of my own.

For this, all you need is a notebook (I like a squared one), a black pen and a coloured pen (or several, if that helps motivate and organise you!). It's really that easy and simple! I like to use a plain notebook, because this way I can adjust it to suit my needs and I'm not constricted by other peoples design. It does take a wee bit of configuring, to find what sections you'll use most, and what you don't. I've been trialling this for a few weeks, and I've found these headings the most useful for me, but you may want to play around with it for a bit until you find the right system that really works for you. 
TO WRITE: These are blog-posts that I need to write for that week or the coming week. When I've finished them, I cross them through, or I highlight them to make a note of overdue post. I also make a note here if for example, I've written and note scheduled it, or it needs photos to be put into the post, etc.

These are things that I need to get done, which might not be writing blog posts, etc, maybe it's replying to a certain email, finding an image for a post, editing some photographs or images, or updating an on-going series post... Just little things that I need to get done, that have a deadline on them.

These are tasks that are important, but not imminent. It might be that I need to check when one my advert campaigns ends, or to take part in a twitter chat, follow up links from a chat, or to schedule something for in the future. Like the to do section, but less time sensitive.

This tab is pretty self-explanatory, but it helps, particularly in the winter when light is a precious commodity. If I need to photograph something, I can make sure I get ready to take the photographs the day before, and won't have to faff about and wonder what else I need to get photographed! 
You could make this a daily system, but I don't have that much to do in a day, so I make it for the week, writing the date for a Monday at the top of the page. At the bottom of this page, I also make a note for Sunday night, to check my followers on Bloglovin'/GFC, and a total, so I can see if I gained a certain amount of followers that week, whether it was due to a certain post, or chat, etc... It's just helps to keep me motivated, I find.

On the opposite page, I use a few different headings that I'm still sort of configuring...
IDEAS: A little vague, but obvious at the same time - this is where I brainstorm and make notes of future blog posts, it might be a title or it might be a list, or a sentence, or just a word, it's just some space for me to jot down ideas when they come to me (this is usually whilst I'm writing other blogposts, so it's good to have this to hand). 
TWITTER CHAT SCHEDULES: For the longest time I was awful at forgetting when all the chats were, despite very helpful people taking the time to make blog-posts scheduling them all! I've taken to writing down the times and days of the chats that I actively take part it (mainly, #bdib and #lbloggers, but #healthyselves sometimes, I always forget about #fdbloggers). I like to tick them off when I've participated, to keep a track of when I can make it or not.
HAVE YOU...: This is to remind me to do all the blog admin that I need to do, basically! I'm shit at remembering stuff, plain and simply. My friends will know how rubbish I am at replying to texts, and blog admin is no exception. I think I'll adjust this in the future depending on how much use I find it, but I have a few main things to check off; Replied to comments, checked emails, scheduled tweets (the bane of my life, I always forget!), pinned posts (likewise!), shared on twitter. 
Have you tried a blogging planner, or have any tips on how to use one? I've found it's really motivated me in terms of planning posts and checking off lists. For example on Sunday, I knew I had a lot of things to photograph for future posts, so I made a small list of what things I need to photograph, for what posts, and blasted through all those pictures in about an hour! I'm finding it really useful, and hopefully I'll keep using it.

How do you keep organised on your blog?!

how to make a blogging planner
how to make a blogging planner

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

honesty, advice & integrity whilst blogging

A little while ago I got into a somewhat heated discussion with a couple of other bloggers on Twitter about honesty vs not telling the truth: I was slated for not explicitly telling everyone my mental health history, and in their eyes because of that, I was completely not allowed to talk about it as such. To me, this was ridiculous. I think everyone should talk more about mental health, regardless if you have diagnosed issues or not - this is the only way stigmas will end..
However, these thoughts have stayed with me since then, and now that I've gradually started talking more about ways to look after your mental health on my blog, and felt it was about time to post this disclaimer, even though it's sad that I even have to. 

For starters, I am so very intensely wary about talking about mental health on my blog, incase I say the wrong thing. I am no professional, obviously. I want to give people links here for the Samaritans, the NHS, Childline and the Mental Health Foundation, Time to Change - more links to help pages at the end of this post. When I talk about mental health it is very different to mental illness: to me, mental health is just looking after your general wellbeing, your psychological state of mind, etc, and mental illness will be a condition diagnosed by a GP or other health practitioner.

I touched on the subject in some of my more personal posts and generally in my life, and on my blog, I have never hidden the fact I have suffered from depression in the past; I am quite open about it. If you ask me, I will tell. If I think I can offer advice on the situation as someone who suffered badly when younger, I will. If I think I can help someone from doing something silly, sad, dangerous, or that they might regret, of course I will help. 

Unfortunately, stigmas surrounding mental health do exist, and despite the excellent work of campaigns like Time to Change, people do perceive people with mental health problems as lazy, or crazy, or any number of awful things. I exist in this world (how existential), and have to live with how other people perceive me, which makes me hesitant to present my entire medical history (I know, how surprising..). I'm not putting it all out there online, for future employers, partners, or friends to find out, before I tell them in person.

However, just because I don't share every last detail of my illness, it doesn't mean that I don't care, it doesn't mean that I can't help other people, it doesn't make my opinion invalid, it doesn't mean I cannot offer advice, and most of all, it does not mean that I am being dishonest with you, as readers. This is not an either/or thing, it is not that black and white, there is a whole spectrum of emotions and situations in-between honesty and lying.

The other thing to address is that in a world where impressional people (at any age) are so present online, I am wary of glamourising the illness in any way - there are other internet personalities out there that do this, and I find it highly disturbing. 

Most importantly, I am not trying to shy away from the fact that I have some problems with depression, and if anybody asks me, personally, I will offer advice if I can. I am not ashamed of it. Not in the slightest, I think it has made me a much stronger person. What I'm not going to do, though, is parade about my figurative or physical scars, in a bizarre attempt to convince people of my authenticity.

To summarise; I'm going to talk more about mental health and how to look after your mental health in general, on, but I'm not giving you my life story, I'm not going to tell you the 'gory details' - for lack of a better phrase - but this doesn't make me any less able to talk about it.

Some links that I could find, not an exhaustive list, but hopefully a place to learn more: Samaritansthe NHSChildlinethe Mental Health Foundation, Rethink, the NHS depression help-page, Depression AllianceAnxiety UK, beat, Bipolar UK, OCD UK, Royal Society of Psychiatrists

Monday, January 26, 2015

musings from a day in london

london england uk national gallery trafalgar square nelson's column

When I was at university, I used to visit London every couple of weeks for shows, gallery visits, exhibitions or for work experience. Between leaving uni, becoming really disenchanted with art and galleries and the entire world of it all, and returning to my quiet little town - I sort of forgot how interesting the city was. I went up for the day with my mum, and although we didn't really do a great deal, it just felt really good to be there again. 

We had a look around the National Gallery - I made a deal with myself a few months ago to try and make the effort to see more of the collections that the London galleries and museums have (I normally only visit to see exhibitions, and forget that the galleries actually own some amazing things), so we saw the Peder Balke exhibition, which was stunning, and had a leisurely wander around some of the rooms. After that we wandered up to Oxford Street, got lunch at Le Comptoir Libonais (I cannot resist the call of lebanese food when I'm in that bit of London), ate far too much houmous, labneh and baba ganoush (both of which I really want to try making) before we spent a long time browsing all that Oxford Street had to offer..

london england uk national gallery trafalgar square nelson's column

I didn't buy anything, the weather was bitterly cold and grey all day and a woman at the train station told me I couldn't handle my coffee (lady, please), but at the end of the day it just made me really excited to be in London again. When I was at uni, it was drilled into me by completely and ridiculously pretentious tutors, that if I wasn't making artwork every second, going to every exhibition opening, doing everything possible to make it as an artist, then what was the point of being interested in art? Obviously I know this is absurd, but when you're told these kind of things daily, you start to think you're worthless if you don't want those things. I forget that you can be interested in art, just as a spectator, as a bystander, as someone that makes art and finds it really interesting, without making it, or obsessing over it..

I'm not sure why I felt the need to write this, but I did - maybe I wanted to remind myself that it's alright to just want to look at art and history and the act of viewing it to be enough. If you think you're not educated enough or you don't know enough, that's rubbish: it's alright to not care about the theory behind it, or know the artist's back catalogue... I really just want to find things in the world that I like, that make my life a little bit better and my heart a bit warmer.

london england uk national gallery st.paul

Sunday, January 25, 2015

weekend wanderings #48

Friday, January 23, 2015

Q #35

I found this quote when I was trying to find a fitting one for my stars board on Pinterest (such a blogger thing, haha), and I fell in love. I've read a little bit of Camus at university, but I really adore this quote, because I'm such a stargazer. I've loved these cold and clear nights we've had recently, when I finish work late at night I turn off al the lights and sit in my car and stare at the sky for a bit, trying to pick out the constellations that I know.. I'm working on it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

couch to 5k - week 1 in review

(Run 2 vs Run 3!)

One of my new year resolutions was to take up running. I had a friend at uni who was really into running, and I always sort of envied her. I love walking and being outside, and I really just wanted to be able to go for a run somedays, if I felt like it. I've lost six stone, and improved my fitness in the gym, so I wanted to try my hand outdoors...

I wasn't expecting it to be as hard as it was - it seems to use completely different muscles to running inside, and it's harder to breathe, and I feel like I'm 6 stone heavier again..! I'm documenting this here, because hopefully one day I'll be able to run 5k, and I'll have this as a record. Some other people may be on the fence about starting running, like I was, or overweight and wondering if they can do it.. well maybe this will give you some inspiration!

RUN 1: 11/5/2015, 1pm on a Sunday afternoon, windy and overcast. 
I think I only ran for about 4.5 minutes in total, and I found that pretty tough. Slightly hungover today. Fast-paced walked where I couldn't run. That afternoon my shoulders ached and the back of my thighs/bum. Next day, my thighs still ache and my hips and knees a bit.
RUN 2: 16/01/2015, 12.30pm on Friday lunchtime, cool, but bright and sunny.
I managed better this time around, running for 6.5 minutes in total, out of 8. I fast-paced walked where I couldn't walk, but with the sun I felt warmer so I don't know if I was as fast as on Sunday (when it was freezing and trying to keep warm!). I'd been to the gym early in the morning and my legs were a bit achey, made sure to do lots of stretches when I got back because  after the last run I seized up! Aiming to do my next run on Sunday or Monday, weather depending. Later that day, I am much less stiff.
RUN 3: 18/01/2015, 10am on Sunday, cold, drizzle, windy, miserable.
I bought myself some new gear this weekend, and it makes me feel so fly. Running tights and a jacket, it seemed to help as I was faffing less with my clothes. A lot of dogs out, some not being controlled by the owner, which pissed me off so I managed a good 7 minutes of running on that anger (maybe a bit longer, I tried a new app and couldn't hear it very well, I only walked 1 interval, though). I looked up lots of hamstring stretches and did those post-run and I feel much better, only my left hamstring is tight now, but I have some muscular pain in my hip. 
Thoughts at the end of the week:
I think I'm going to repeat maybe another couple of Week 1 runs, to make sure I can run the 8 minutes, before moving on to the Week 2, as I don't want to, excuse the pun, run before I can walk! My homework for the week is to look up some more stretches and try and improve my flexibility. Going to look at investing in some better shoes as I had soaked feet by the time I got home on Sunday.
Weight loss?
Just under 2lbs! 
I'm not sure how long I'll keep up the couch to 5k plan, I'll be honest, but I am going to give it my best shot! I feel like my body wasn't meant to run, but maybe that will improve. It was one of my goals for this year, to at least give it a go, and I've started! I reckon I won't be able to do all the runs in one week, so I'm a bit iffy about that, but I'm gonna try and stick to it as closely as possible.

If anyone else is trying this plan, please let me know, I'd love someone to talk about this crap with - particularly if you're a complete beginner like me! I also want to post a picture every time I run on Instagram, so follow me there, too!

Monday, January 19, 2015

8 tips for beating january blues

Today is supposedly the day that in the UK, everyone feels the worst, post-Christmas, and has been dubbed 'blue monday'. Whilst this has sort of been exposed as pseudo-science, I understand the theory behind it. All year, I am prone to bouts of depression, and even in the summer I can find myself in a black mood - however January seems to emphasise it, and make it all seem so much worse. Maybe it's the constant wind, the grey starts and dark evenings, or the rain at your window most nights, but somehow, it all conspires to make me feel so awful.

January is a long, dark month, and it seems to never, so you need to take care of yourself and be aware of when your mood might be slipping. Here are my best, tried and tested tips I've learned over the years to try and shift that mid-January-funk.
(Please check the disclaimer at the end of this post for further information and links to mental health websites.)

1. SLEEP WELL: I find that I never get enough sleep, ever, but that is just me. I often beat myself up over sleeping in at the weekends, but that is my body's way of screaming at me to listen to it! It needed that 12 hours! Conversely, if you find yourself sleeping at lot, and are still waking up tired, this can be your body's way of telling you that something isn't right. Be aware of your sleep patterns, practise good sleep hygiene, and hopefully you'll notice an improvement.
2. GET OUTSIDE: Fresh air, sunlight, and Vitamin D do wonders for your body, your mind and your general health. Even if you're just doing an extra five minute walk in the daylight, getting out of your office at lunch and walking once around the block, or to the corner-shop, it really helps. Also, fluorescent light like in offices, etc, and the blue-light from your laptop does something weird to your circadian rhythms and your hypothalamus (the bit of the brain that regulate sleep patterns, melatonin, serotonin levels, other hormones, and all sorts of stuff in your body), so trying to keep them in line with good, natural sunlight is generally not a bad plan.
3. BE SOCIABLE: I find that the best thing to lifting me out of a sharply spiralling mood, are friends. Even just reaching out to them by text or Whatsapp and having a stupid conversation makes me feel miles better. I'm naturally quite an introverted person, and don't like to rely on other people if I can help it, but sometimes, you've got to lean on someone else and admit when you're not coping. 
4. BUY A NEW LIGHT: I've never tried these, but I know several people swear by clocks that wake you up with daylight-level artificial light and lamps that use daylight-bulbs, which helps boost those chemical levels we were talking about earlier. I have no experience of this, so I don't really like to comment, but if you're working in an indoor environment, travelling to and from work in the dark, this could be the way to boost your daylight levels.
5. FIND A ROUTINE: I find that I work best when I'm going to bed at a reasonable hour, waking at a good time and getting into a little routine when I get home from work. It takes the guesswork out of the evening if I know what I'm having for dinner, what time I need to get up and do things. At the weekends, I try to get up at a reasonable hour and make the most of the daylight. Make a schedule, if you need to, but I find if I'm sitting about at the weekends, wondering if I'll do something, I get really stressed that I won't see the sun for a whole week, so schedule things in.
6. COMFORT FOOD VS HEALTHY FOOD: I think in January, you shouldn't be super strict on yourself and force yourself to detox with weird all green spinach and kale juices (though this is proven to be a load of nonsense) that suck the last remaining joy (eating all your Christmas chocolate and the leftover cheese you found at the back of the fridge) by eating very little. However, getting your vitamins is important, so make sure you up your fruit and vegetable intake, and screw it, eat that cheese, go for Nando's or pizza with your mates if you want, cook a giant lasagne, if you want. Who am I tell you what to eat?! Just find a balance that suits you.
7. MAKE PLANS: Having things to look forward to is a great idea, even if it's just a day out or doing something that you enjoy. I am a firm believer of spending time alone, so try and schedule something you really love, maybe a day out to an exhibition or a museum trip, or having a little day out at the weekend, just to have something to look forward to that you really enjoy to help recharge your batteries, and remind you of the good stuff in life. 
8. BE KIND TO YOURSELF: I said it before, but be kind to yourself, look after yourself. If you're feeling rubbish, make friends and family aware, because they do care about you, even if your brain might be telling you otherwise. Don't strip all the joy from your life, make time to recharge, do things you really love, sleep in at the weekend, eat chocolate in bed... February is a short month, and then it's easter, and then it's basically summer, so you'll make it, don't worry. 

If you do get very low in the winter months, you may want to consider that you could have seasonal-affective-disorder, which is a medical condition characterised by depression, generally thought to be caused by a lack of sunlight in the winter. Just something to consider though, if you get very bad every year.

Obviously, I am not a professional, or a doctor or anything like that. These are just my tips after having suffered from depression for many years now. For more information on depression and mental health, please check some of these links out, as they give better advice than nearly anyone ever could: Samaritansthe NHSChildline and the Mental Health Foundation. (I don't really rate Mind after they endorsed some problematic stuff, but they do have some good advice on the matter.) Also, if you are worried about anything else to do with your mental health, please seek the advice of a GP.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

weekend wanderings #47

Friday, January 16, 2015

Q #34

Things to remember:

You are stronger than you think.
Small victories are equally important.
Never base your self worth on what other people think of you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

nesting instinct

January is long and cold, dark and grey. There's really nothing else to do except curl up in bed, make plans, read a good book, sleep, drink lots of hot coffee...

I recieved the Goldfinch for Christmas, and it's one I'm trying to plough through because the story is so good. I've actually put it down for a couple of days, but whilst I was ill over NYE, I red about 500 pages. I'll do a full review when I've finished it, but so far I'm in love with it. 
I've also been trying to keep a note-book handy because I'm really trying to work on my blog this year, see what works and what does, and document any night-time ideas that come to me. We'll see how this goes, I suppose?!

Hope you're all having a good week, I'm feel very sleepy this week, I started couch to 5k and I'm still feeling the effects of my first run on Sunday!

Monday, January 12, 2015

on losing weight: one year on, six stone lighter

A year ago, today, I made the decision to lose weight - I knew I'd gained a lot of weight over Christmas, so on the 1st of January I made a 'resolution' to try and get a bit fitter, but I sort of felt at the back of my mind that it wouldn't really stick. Stupid, I know. But then I had one of those 'light-bulb moments' - I was on a mini-break in Scotland with my friend, and I was struggling to keep up with her. I kept blaming it on my shoes, on the cobbles, on the Edinburgh hills, but really it was my bad health and I just wanted to be able to do the things that she did so easily. 

I've had a life-long struggle with weight which I've started to document here, but something about this realisation felt pretty permanent. I made a note to myself, on my phone, that I have saved to this day, on the 12th of January at 23:59PM, that was a little reminder of how shit I felt, about my health, and how I needed to do something about it.

The next day, I came home from Edinburgh and I joined my local Curves gym - I'd been there before, and I really enjoy the women-only nature of it all, and how it suits my lifestyle - a 30 minute work-out is easy to fit in, the girls there are so lovely and genuine, and there is just no judgement involved. I've ventured into regular gyms before, and I won't lie, I don't like being around men in that environment, it makes me uncomfortable. Me and my mum got out our recipe books, and sat down and made plans, talked about what we could have for lunch and how to keep motivated, how to make our own recipes healthier. I didn't stop baking, either, there's been plenty of that on this blog this year!

But, somehow, all of it worked...

I say that like I shed 6-stone overnight, which I in no-way did, and I'm still losing weight now, still want to lose a lot more. But I'm still sort of shocked, I'll be honest, that I enjoy eating healthier and losing weight, that yesterday I willingly went for a run in the freezing cold wind with a bit of a hangover...

It's really hard work, but it's really interesting also, to see how your body changes and your strength improves, how your attitudes towards things change, and how you realise you can do a lot more than you ever thought you could. My first run yesterday was horrible and so bad, and I had to walk a lot of it, but I think about that first work-out I did when I got back from Scotland and how I was so red and sweaty and unable to move the next day, from something that is now just part of my routine... and I think maybe in another year, I'll be able to run a 5k. In 2 years I'll be to run a 10k, or more. In 3 years I could be so freaking strong, I could be a machine! Just kidding, sort of, but hopefully you get the point!

So, if you think that new years resolutions don't work, or that you could never make that big of a lifestyle change and have it stick, then maybe rethink that shit, because it's so fucking cool to know what your body can do and to learn your limits.

[Side note: I know these pictures aren't the best before and after photos, but this isn't really about that. Also, this isn't even an after photo, it's just a photo of me, a bit less heavy and a lot healthier! And I know that these kind of photos can be triggering, so I apologise for that, too. I'm also making a very stupid face in the second photo, but I wanted to get this post up, and also, do you like my new sweater? Got it in the sale!]

Sunday, January 11, 2015

weekend wanderings #46

(images from, and

Friday, January 09, 2015

Q #33

I think I may have missed a couple of quotation posts over Christmas, but now we're back on track. I found this on my jaunts about tumblr, and I like that its about burying things that held you back, things that serve only to drag you down. It seems very apt for a new year, when fresh starts are obviously on the mind. I have been thinking a lot about self-care and self-love, and how important it is to actually put yourself first. I have a history of not caring about myself, and treating myself badly, and I want that to change, and I want to get along better with myself.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

taking stock #7

Making: resolutions.
Cooking: salads, healthy stir-fries...
Drinking: water!
Reading: the Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt.
Wanting: February, already.
Watching: The Grand Budapest Hotel, I got on DVD for Christmas.
Eating: leftover christmas chocolate...
Deciding: on future plans.
Wishing: Christmas-trees were a year-round tradition, ours came down this week.
Enjoying: the cold weather, surprisingly.
Waiting: for spring.
Loving: that I am finding the time for reading.
Hoping: I don't embarrass myself at the work post-christmas party, this weekend...
Needing: to sort a lot of boring stuff out, but I just can't be bothered!
Smelling: like Miss Dior Cherie.
Wearing: brown and cream knitted jumpers purchased in the sale from Gap, with leggings and socks.
Thinking: about where I'll be in a year.
Hearing: The Avett Brothers, on loop.
Feeling: a little odd.
Admiring: my ability to get back on the diet-bandwagon.
Buying: little, I'm trying to be more frugal this month.
Getting: bored. 
We said goodbye to the Christmas tree this week, it was looking very sad and forlorn, but I snapped this picture in better days, and never posted it, so thought this would be a nice goodbye. I'm sorry the content hasn't been amazingly thrilling on this week, I'm adjusting to that post-Christmas slump, and trying to get my butt in the gym every day again! It's a hard thing to convince yourself to do on a cold and dark evening. 

Monday, January 05, 2015

5 post-christmas thank-you card etiquette tips

When I was younger, I always remember writing thank-you cards under the hawk-like supervision of my mother, and it was always something the bratty child in my kind of hated doing. I know, I was such a brat! 

I was shopping for some thank-you cards after realising I couldn't find the ones that I had bought in the sale last year and put somewhere 'safe' and realised that maybe I should write a little post about it. I love getting a random little card in the post, and I know relatives really appreciate it, plus, it makes you not look like an ungrateful brat and is a decent thing to do. 

I picked these cards up in Marks and Spencers, and I liked the little bird, but you can find them all over the place, and its quite useful to have a pack in, for when the moment arises.
1. Timing: Don't send it three months late. I always try and get mine written and posted in the first week of January. I'm running a little late this year, because I've been sick and such. If you are late, I would be brief in your apology, 'Sorry this note is late but thankyou very much for...'

2. Memory: I used to find it hard to remember in the excitement at Christmas, who gave me what. I make a little note on my phone on Christmas and just list who sent me what, in-case I tear the gift-card, or whatever.

3. Handwriting: I think this is a personal bug-bear, because I have awful handwriting, but always try and make the effort to at least write legibly in a card, and I know that it is really not that hard. I'm not saying you have to be proficient in calligraphy, but at least make sure that it is readable.

4. The Gift: I try and include a brief message about the present, or if it was money, what I have spent it on (or intend to spend it on!). Say if it will come in useful to you, or how you're looking forward to using or wearing it.

5. Express gratitude: Be honest and say thank-you. Even if you maybe weren't the greatest fan of the present, show gratitude because the giver has spent the time and money to get you a gift, and hey, maybe you're hard to buy for!

Sunday, January 04, 2015

weekend wanderings #45

Friday, January 02, 2015

new year, new me? insert eye-roll here

Lets get it out of the way: Happy New Year! Hello, 2015! Are you still feeling fragile or are you well and truly recovered? Already tired of those "new year, new me" updates all over Facebook? Well, here is mine..  

Just kidding, I don't think that I'm going to be an entirely new person in 2015. In fact, I always kind of thought resolutions were for losers. Not in a mean way, exactly... Just that maybe they existed for those people that lacked conviction: like, why do you need it to be the 1st of January to make a difference in your life? Well, you don't, but I found last year that it helps to kick you up the bum. I made a resolution in 2014 to lose weight, and I lost about 6 stone. So, I've reevaluated my feelings on resolutions. Maybe they're not a bunch of crap, and maybe these people were onto something all those years, after all. 

  1. Lose 50lbs. This sounds a lot, but I lost eighty-five pounds (well, eighty if we're not including the five I lost, then gained throughout December, which we're definitely not, because winter weight, am I right..?!) in 2013. Another fifty would put me somewhere I'm comfortable with, and then I can re-evaluate. 
  2. Start running. This is something I've been considering the last few months, but always thought seemed like something I couldn't do. Fat girls, etc. I've realised though that that the only thing that's really stopping me there is my confidence. Do I care if people laugh at me for trying to get fit? No, I don't, so that shouldn't be the thing that holds me back. 
  3. Get a bra fitted properly. This goes in conjunction with running, but I've lost a lot of weight around my middle and from my boobs, and as such, I have no clue what size I am anymore. None of my bras fit me properly anymore, and I want to be correctly supported when running. 
  4. Move out. Who am I kidding, maybe just get a new job? Hahaha...Again, who am I kidding.. Maybe just, save some more money for when I DO move out? 
  5. Read more. I have so many books on my shelf half-finished, half-started, half-abandoned... I want to make peace with them all, haha. If I enjoy them, finish them, if I don't, fully give up on them, don't leave them in a half-read limbo.
  6. Apply for an allotment. I really miss the time and effort spent at the old allotment, and I want to apply for some new ones. It takes years to get one round here, but you never know... 
  7. Consume less, buy less, leave less impact on the world, live more minimally. I say this every year, but I buy way too much stuff. I just want to own less, take up less space in the world, and leave less impact, so I'm really going to strive to make a difference with this, this year. 
  8. Make more things, and make presents for people, too. On a similar theme as consuming less, I want to make more stuff and buy less. I want to knit more and make presents for people too, because I love receiving hand-made presents, and I have skills and talents that can be made into presents, so I really should just do it. 
  9. Keep on with my blog, and keep up to date with the blogging world. Whilst I don't think I exactly let my blog slide when I started full-time work, it definitely shifted in priority for a couple of weeks, and I gained much more admiration for bloggers who also work hectic jobs. It's taken me 4 months (well probably longer) to actually catch up on my Bloglovin' feed, and I don't want it to get like that again!  
  10. Become a pro photographer. Well, not a pro, but I want to become really au fait with my new camera. I want to know how to take the perfect photo on manual and all that jazz, because I'll be honest, I'm not great.
  11. Love myself. This one sounds weird, I know, like a weird euphemism for something, or a hippyish phrase from Eat Pray Love, and I'm sorry on both accounts, but it needs to be said. I've made a lot of progress this year towards liking myself, lumps and bumps and scars and emotional baggage and all, and I want to keep learning to be comfortable with who I am.
It's a long list, some are kind of silly and throw-away things, but I've meaning to do for ages (allotment, bra), some are steps on my weight loss journey (running, lose 50lbs), some are about me trying to be a better person in the world, and some are just self-centred pursuits to a healthier mental place (but that is good!), but all are important.

What are your goals and resolutions for the coming year? If you want support, or just like to chat about stuff, I'm always here and willing to moan about weight-loss plateau's or failing to understand correctly what SEO's are..!