Breathe

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Here we are, back to work, back to reality.

The diet chat is rife, people are returning to the gyms with their tails between their legs and boy don’t we know it. The mince pies have been cleared away and we’re having hearty porridge for our breakfasts instead of a handful of Quality Street.

I hate all the self-flagellation that comes after all the joy so I’m not partaking in it. I won’t be going to the gym tonight or any time soon because I can’t afford it and also I don’t want to. I can’t think of anything worse than sweating my nuts off in between a hundred other people who’d rather be on the sofa finishing the new series of Black Mirror. So I’ll be on the sofa finishing the new series of Black Mirror thanks, in a blanket with my tea.

January is generally the most miserable month of all and I’m going to inject as many little moments of happiness into it as I can, even if I am as poor as a church mouse. Even if all that is is an hour reading a book I’m into or having a pickle. Life’s too short and my only resolution is to be MORE so bring it 2018. I want more!

On another note, I’ve been spending more time than is healthy watching 2017 highlight videos on social media. All those wonderful perfectly composed images from the past year fill me with an instant gratification but when I think back on my own year, which was filled with some really dark moments (and obviously it was worse for my husband), I’m just thankful I made it at all.

Not to bring the mood down because we’re all about positivity here but I’m amazed I didn’t run away or bury myself in the garden at times. We suffered a great loss as a family, which was awful but has brought us closer together and I’m grateful for that. I feel as though I held on to a lot of the trauma of what happened though and then I moved from my comfy (but deeply unfulfilling) job into the worst one I’ve ever had (yes worse than the turkey plucking) – and I nearly lost it.

Some good did come of this though as the anxiety I’ve been trying to freeze out for years refused to be ignored any longer and I had to do something about it. I also learned that some people are just horrible and nothing you can do or say can change that. A hard lesson has been to understand that that’s on them and not me.

And even though I’m not sure my current role is a forever, it is fun and I’ve made some great friends – so for now I’m just going to enjoy it and see where it takes me. Despite myself I’m excited for what the year has in store, slightly wary but overall hopeful – and everyday, I’m just going to try to remember to breathe.

How are you guys settling into the New Year?

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New Year, Same Me

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In 2018, I pledge to be even more me.

To take up more space, to take more chances, make more mistakes, more friends, more noise. Take trips, say yes, create more. Write more and be more present.

I’m tired of all the new me bullshit. While it’s nice to take stock of a year and look upon a fresh new one with a sliver of excitement, why must we always have to change? Who I am is just fine thanks, I’ll not be adjusting at all.

Apart from trying to save instead of spend, I’ll be:

  • Eating whatever the fuck I like
  • Going on at least two European breaks
  • Visiting London at least once
  • Writing regularly and maybe even outlining a plan to write something ‘real’
  • Recording a lot of new episodes for the podcast
  • Watching all the films
  • Reading all the books
  • Being vocal about anything and everything than means something to me

What are you thinking?

Minimalism?

I’ve had an epiphany.

Last night I was talking to my new cool work friend Chloe about her beautiful Instagram feed (how modern!) and I asked her how the background in all her photographs is always so appealing. Like my background always has gerbils and shoes and old cups of tea lying around – how does one create the perfect pure light and airy landscape?

Just fucking tidy up, I would imagine but she said something that has really stuck (in theory anyway).

She said she prefers to own fewer things that she really really loves, rather than have loads of stuff she’s indifferent to. Simple, eh? Makes sense, right?

This is where I’ve been going wrong all this time: STUFF! I’m literally drowning in things and stuff – and something has got to give. This thinking is quite relateable. When my grandmother was preparing to leave this plain (like for real, she had enough and so she just went one day), she started clearing out her apartment, urging family and friends to give her books and pleasant smelling products instead of things.

She didn’t have 77 pairs of shoes or handbags, she didn’t have six denim jackets and a collection of plastic hair clips from the 90’s. She was free of tat and I think I’m ready for this phase in my life.

I want to be truly passionate about the things that surround me. The people, the environment, the things – clothing and jewellery aside (hey I have to express myself, man!), I don’t need all this shit.

I can read books and pass them on. I don’t need to keep old make-up just in case. I don’t need the quick fixes or the cheer-me-up treats. I should save my money for good haircuts and tattoos. Savings. Plastic surgery.

So that’s what I’m going to do now. Level 40 is just round the corner, and I’m going in with a new attitude. If it doesn’t make me truly happy, it can kiss my lily-white behind.

Now where did I put the bin bags?

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What’s going on with you?

Goals – Six Month Check Up

It seems I saw out 2015 with much hope in my heart, setting some interesting personal challenges and then adding to them in early January. Since we’re half way through the year I thought it might be fun to recap and see where I’m at with those.

Instead of being all list-y, I’ll break this into lifestyle categories I think.

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Travel & Adventure

Well, I’m no closer to NYC but I have been up to the North! We stayed in a hotel so I think it counts. Seriously though, I don’t think there’ll be a foreign break this year as too much has come up for us financially but Glynn is taking driving lessons so there will be some adventure. TBH I’d be happy with a road trip just us at this stage. We’ll get more exotic when we can.

Work & Education

New job? Nope. But things are better so I’m much happier. I do crave more creative freedom but that’s okay, I feel my blog helps with that.

I haven’t signed up for the coding course yet but I am about to do an online Forensic Science and Profiling Diploma, because my obsession with true crime has obviously gone way too far! I’ve also picked up a sketch book and I’m looking to start a 10 week drawing class in September. So not bad on the extra-curricular front if I say it myself!

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Health & Well-being

I’m still going to the gym around 3-4 times a week and I can feel noticeable change in my hench-ness. I’m enjoying doing this for myself, with no motive other than wanting to feel stronger.

I think I’m doing better at not running myself down for not looking like other people. I try not to say derogatory things about myself. We all have low days though and on those days I stay away from mirrors and do nice things for myself until it passes.

General Life

I’m saying yes to more good stuff and no to more shit – and that feels bloody great. I don’t spend too much time with people I don’t care for and that feels even better.

I also feel like I’m getting better at the over-apologies. They’re born of insecurity and, for me, are a hangover from a bad relationship, so I’m happy to work on letting this characteristic go. I know in my heart I have nothing to be sorry for, ever and I have as much right to be present as any other fucker.

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Finances

Well, I’m not rich but I did pay off a large chunk of debt just after Christmas. I’m currently on a no-shopping ban too which is helping.

Look, I’m always going to have a bit too much of an interest in online shopping and there will always be good months and bad months but we’re doing okay. We’d love to buy somewhere in the next few years and that is going to require massive dedication and sacrifice, so I feel okay about being a bit free and easy at the moment.

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Self

I have been tattooed a couple of times in 2016, including my very favourite Wonder Woman tattoo which I realise I haven’t even photographed since it’s healed. I will try to do that properly soon. I’ve been reading more, been taking some fine #selfies and all in all I’m a happy lady.

I know I have to write more, I know sometimes I have a tendency to coast through life at a comfortable pace but generally I like life and the people in it. I’m lucky to have a good family and I’m in good health, so for now there’s nothing to really complain about.

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There’s still time to make change and get better at my new hobbies, especially the drawing. I have a weird feeling there’s a distinct illustrative style buried within me and I just want to coax it out!

I think the sign off on this 6 month catch up is just to keep on keeping on. Which is what I intend to do.

How’re you guys doing? ❤

All images via Unsplash.

Day 31: Happy NY!

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The exact opposite of how I’ll be spending my NYE

Happy New Year everyone!

Whatever you’re doing with your evening; whether you party like it’s 1999, go to bed @ 9 or get drunk on cheap Baileys in your pyjamas in front of Alan Carr (me), I hope you have a great time.

And you know what? I’m a sucker for a “Go you!” meme, that’s no secret but I hope this fresh year brings you whatever you need. Maybe we’ll all change a bit and start 2016 with a fresh attitude. Maybe we will get that great new job or stop letting people take advantage of our better natures.

Maybe nothing at all will change. Maybe we’ll still be envious of a loved one, or too hard on our bodies. Maybe we’ll never pick up a sketchbook to find out if there’s an illustrator trapped within (me).

Any and all of that is okay. Let’s make a pact not to be horrible to ourselves about every little thing. If we want to make positive changes, let’s try to do that but every little bump in the road is not the end of the world. We’re already good enough, more than enough actually and we should learn to accept this.

So yes, that will be me starting to get a hangover after my second glass of lukewarm Irish Cream, probably having a bath with my book and trying desperately to stay awake until midnight, just because. That’s what we do in our house.

NYE makes me sad and I’ve always been relieved when it’s gone. But I like the promise of a new day, a new page. I just know that every day is a new page, not just the 1st January.

Catch you in 2016 my friends!

Stuff I DEFINITELY Won’t Be Buying in the January Sales

January is a very depressing month for many. For me it’s kind of okay because I’ve had extensive Hermit Training and don’t mind not seeing anyone but my husband for extended periods of time. I also have 78 unread books in a pile next to the bed so I’ll be busy, thanks.

That said, I do have to go to work like most other people and that means being near the internet and the January Sales which are there just to cheer us up, aren’t they? Nothing like instant gratification to fight off the New Year Blues, if only for the 15 seconds it takes to tear into the packaging and unearth our new friends.

I’ve been coveting quite a few things, how unusual for me, and here they are. Some things that are already in the sale or I hope soon will be, so I CAN RESIST THEM and feel VIRTUOUS.

All items in this post available via ASOS.com (but of course).

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ASOS Curve Monochrome Jumpsuit, £22.50 (Reduced from £45) ~ ASOS Curve Twist Bardot Skater Dress, £30 ~ Adidas Originals Polka Dot Track Pants, £33 (Reduced from £55)

God I love this jumpsuit. This would be a very welcome addition to the work wardrobe, looks instantly smart and chic, and would rock with a bold, colourful statement necklace to offset the monochrome.

That dress! I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable with that much flesh on show in the office but I do feel my shoulders are one of my best features, so I could rock this in the pub feeling feminine AF. Lovely and a little bit ‘braver’ than my usual style.

These track pants are currently out of stock in my size but I want them so bad. Right now I live in gym gear after work, so these would add a much needed cool injection. Not that I care about being hot in the gym (just as well really).

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New Look Inspire Tailored Coat, £29.50 (Reduced from £39.99) ~ Adidas Originals Pastel Rose Shopper Bag, £19.50 (Reduced from £33) ~ ASOS Curve Knitted Bodycon Dress in Metallic Stripe, £19 (Reduced from £38)

I feel like I haven’t quite nailed the coat thing this Winter which isn’t such a disaster given that we haven’t had weather cold enough yet. I don’t think this tailored lovely is a very warm looking option but it is gorgeous. And I’ve got some great brooches that need showcasing, so…

Another one for the gym and isn’t it pretty?

This dress has been on my Wish List for a long time. I adore it. I like knit and basically, I just want it, okay?

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ASOS Curve Lounge Pant, £22 ~ ASOS Curve Jumpsuit with Zips, £24 (Reduced from £48) ~ ASOS Curve Plunge Wrap Bow Side Teddy, £25

I thought this was the whole set but it appears just to be the bottoms. You can get the top to match here. How cosy!

Another jumpsuit and actually, if I had to choose between this and the monochrome (above), I’d have a hard time. I mean look at it. It looks so finished. I love the zips, which add a real utility edge. Dreamy.

How hot is this? I’m not a roaming around the flat in a negligee type but if I was… I’d do it in items like this. SEXY.

And last but not least, on top of my Most Wanted List, this bad boy:

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Babyliss New Big Hair, £45

My boo, Tatty of Camelia Ophelia has this and I’m certain it would transform my life. I have big hair already but it has a tendency toward frizziness, especially in the windy weather. This could just be the thing to finally tame it. Image how chic I could finally be!

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So there you go, there’s my impossibly superficial Sales Wish List. Of course, I won’t be purchasing any of this for myself because I’ve decided to take charge of my finances in 2016 and won’t be in a position to shop until at least April.

I’ve also decided to treat myself to the ultimate #selflove tattoo (it will be small and discreet), inspired by this post. Of course I will reveal all when the time comes but any spare pennies will be going towards that (my final, yet vital extravagance).

I’m serious about clearing my debt, but a girl can still dream, right?

UPDATE: I accidentally bought the stripey dress and the monochrome jumpsuit. They were ridiculously cheap (reduced further). Tatty made me do it! Ha. (What? It’s not New Year YET).