01 November, 2015

#WIDN - November


Packing 


It took a lot of courage and a strong 20 minutes of "they are more scared of you than you are of them" but I finally dragged my 'backpacking back-pack' out from under my bed, brushed off the mold (true), applauded the lack of spider and started packing for my holiday. Which I will be on in one week's time.


This holiday is going to be an adventure, it's going to be an escape, it's going to be entirely unpredictable and it's going to be an opportunity for me to come up against myself and reflect on the year. How does one pack for such an excursion? Ray-bans, a bikini, and a first-aid kit is how.


Buying books


I have read about 0 books all year. Which is disgusting for an English Literature graduate who LOVES TO READ. It takes head-space and peace of mind to focus on a book, and I have struggled with both those things recently. With 3 weeks away from work coming up, I have absolutely no excuse and plan to revive my inner bookworm before the month is out.


So far on the holiday reading list I have Mindy Kaling x 2, Tina Fey and Caitlin Moran. What?


Sleeping. Loads.


Is anyone else hibernating like never before? To say I survived on about 4 hours a night for the first half of this year, I now seem to be paying off my sleep debt. I am struggling to wake up on weekends, instead of sitting bolt up right at 6am like "Hi, life!", I slept for eleven sweet hours on Friday and honestly? I could nap again right now. I don't care if it's exhaustion, the darker mornings or just the volume of carbs I am consuming, I am so happy with my revived relationship with sleep and long may it continue.


Not buying clothes


Autumn is my favourite time of year for doing words - running, baking, eating, sleeping (see above), driving. The colours, the foliage, the ability to wear a cape. 


For me, shopping is also more fun in Autumn (clothes and food). I will always rather wear skinny jeans and boots, than vest tops and sandals. But this year I have had to abstain, because I have a right holiday to save for. I miss being able to walk into Topshop and say "hey you sexy tweed two-piece, I worked for you, get in my basket." I can't do that because instead my money is going towards invaluable memories and non-refundable life experience, so it's O.K.


Pastures new


My Dad is moving to a new part of the country this month which will mean a whole new set of adventures for me when I visit. Running on new ground. In. The Countryside. Somewhere to go that I haven't (yet) been drunk and disorderly. Fresh territory can be a total tonic. So I am excited to see how that new chapter unfolds.


Baking a lot of bread


I have baked 2 loaves and 12 rolls in the last week. And I live alone.


Avoiding thinking about Christmas


I usually start getting excited for Christmas on 1st September, and just pretend to roll my eyes and be livid about decorations in shops before we've even had Halloween, If anything, it's me who puts them there. This year though, I haven't given Christmas it's usual 4 months of attention. Mainly because I am missing all of the November build-up (including the launch of the Christmas Cups), gifts are likely to be plastic elephants from Chiang Mai (soz family, shoe-string budget), and I still haven't moved past about January in my mind.


My life has been this big dramatic pause all year, and I am mainly stood around open-mouthed like what has just happened? WHAT. HAS HAPPENED. Because of this limbo state, I just cannot get my head around the fact it's going to be Christmas. Again. Really soon. And it's going to be very different for the first time in a long time. I hope my time away gives me the chance to catch up on all of this year, and come my return I will be ready to embrace, or at least face, tinsel.


What is November bringing for you?


x
















28 October, 2015

9 things to get a girl through a bad day


Lipstick

Looking like a pro can make you feel like a pro. I wear lipstick on most days because let’s be real, it is the grown-ups answer to face paint. Especially on the days that seem un-doable, when you have actual big problems that mean something tiny like running out of milk is THE END OF THE WORLD (a tantrum which you later justify as “the straw that broke the camel’s back”) and all you can see in front of you is 12 hours of pain and a lot of rain.

Even on those depressing days, painting your lips makes you feel like a doyenne of the day. It makes you want to smile. Fake it ‘til you make it and that. So go forth and buy out the Mac counter, show the world you’re ready to face it, even if on the inside you’re crying into your bone dry Weetabix.

Desk. Snacks.

Although we are worldly wise and highly advanced here in 2015 (ahem) underneath all the evolution our basic instincts still remain. Sometimes you have to strip your life goals right back to simply getting through the day and achieving food. It can therefore be incredibly reassuring to stock up on snacks. 

Setting up a tuck shop at your desk can be strangely heartening. That may look like a satsuma, but it’s actually a mid-morning pep talk. And what was once an ordinary Wham bar, is now going to help me Pow my way to 5pm.

Buy a thing

We are living in a material world, and we are a material girl god dammit. We just are. We don’t always succumb to the temptation of material things, but when you spend most of your time resisting the lure of stuff, then it’s okay to occasionally fall into debt for the sake of your sanity. Whether you “need” some silk pyjamas to make you feel like a queen, or a sexy new chunky knit to be your hug all day long – just treat yourself. Your wardrobe might not need those extravagances, but your soul does.

Choose a power song, and listen to it on repeat

Because we’re all Beyonce. And that woman has seen so many of us through so many battles. If B isn’t your vibe, find yourself a song that does make you feel empowered, positive, lifted (lighthouse family anyone?) because music really is a miracle for the moods.

Send up a flare


When my friends and I are struggling, we step up for each other in little ways. When I have a friend in need, I go into full list sending mode. Lists of ridiculous things that have happened to me (no-one wants to know about your most humiliating moments more than your best mates), or if I have had a normal day (rare) I’ll bullet point every amazing quality I love about them. And they do the same back. “No, YOU’RE amazing.”

Your friends don’t always know when you are having a bad time of it though. Sometimes it is best to just power through, but other times you’ve used up all your last fight, and you really need someone else to swoop in with some sunshine. Don’t update your Facebook status with a sad face hoping for the sympathy (nosiness) to flood in, because that’s annoying, but DO send the death skull followed by the ambulance emoji to your mates in a Whatsapp group. They’ll know what to do.

Cancel. Your. Plans.

It always seems to be that when you’re burnt all out and sinking into an abyss, that will also be the one night you have plans with the very same person you have cancelled on the last 7 times for the very same reason. And then it’s just hanging over you all day, debating cancelling, until it’s definitely too late to do so. The last time I did that, I spent £40 I didn’t have and very wobbly 2 hours stuffing my face with gyozas to avoid crying. Woesabi. I was terrible company and made myself sick from the emotional exhaustion.

After that, I made a mental note to next time give myself a night in front of Netflix when I know I need it. Your gut knows what you need, and you have gots to listen to it more than you need to please your pals. I am learning that sometimes you just have to be a little selfish and stop worrying what other people will think. I mean, no-one was better off for me showing up that night. No-one.

Make plans

Conversely, sometimes making evening plans is what you need to pull you through from 9 to 5. Depending on the cause of your misery, there are times when only a cocktail and a bitch with your pal will lift you of your slump. It’s easy to “stuck in your own head” and it can do a world of good to just have a damn glass of wine, forget about all that is real life and let go for a bit. Just don’t let all the way go, because if you were down before, waking up with a hangover is going to be the nail in the proverbial coffin.

The right shoe

Not much in this life is our friend whatever the weather but shoes, shoes are. They always fit - unless you have hideously wide feet like me, then you get laughed out of Office on the regular - there is a pair to fit every mood, occasion and handbag, and wearing the right shoe on the right day can make all the difference.

Take today, it torrential rained on me ALL DAY LONG as I trekked to Birmingham and back with just my umbrella and a sodding wet sodding non-waterproof coat for sodding company. My shoes had my back though.The heel kept me above the floods, the sturdy leather remained waterproof and whilst I hobbled along like a drowned rat, I felt ten feet tall (inc the brolly)

Remember this isn’t everything you are


Sometimes the days are so tough, that it’s all you can do to brace yourself for the storms each morning and try your absolute best to build armour from within. Sometimes, we move through the days with knots in our stomachs and fragile hearts. On those days, you have to keep moving, look beyond, and remember that whatever THIS is, is not your end all.

Whatever your worries are now, will not be your worries one day. So let them go, because this will pass. It’s easier said than done, but that outlook can really help you to snub the sludge you’re trudging through, keep your head above water and look ahead to that sun on that horizon. It may seem far, but it’s there and you’ll make it.

24 October, 2015

A change is as good as a rest




But sometimes you just need an almighty rest, right? A proper pyjama wearing, sun bathing, tea drinking, cake eating, adventure going, Netflix watching, phone ignoring, cocktail sipping break. Not just a day to yourself, or a weekend away, but a full on sabbatical from life.

I can say with some (a lot of) certainty that I have never before needed a break like I need one now. My mind and soul have been working overtime for far too long, and my body is breaking down from the exhaustion of this year. I have ulcers (sexy), I am permanently fatigued, my mind is so far into over-drive, a missed bus makes me feel like weeping, and the weekends? They don’t even touch the sides. My resilience is at an all-time low, and all that can save me is some sunshine, and distance.

Sometimes we go through big change - break-ups, house moves, professional shifts. Sometimes they ALL HAPPEN AT ONCE. However positive these changes are, it's exhausting. That’s been my experience of this year, and it’s been relentless. There's the consequences of the big changes as well. You don't get an earthquake without ensuing tremors and, for me, The Break Up (the catalyst for most of it) prompted some big shifts in my other relationships too. Although I am now closer than ever to some of my circle, for other relationships it’s provoked a slight disbandment. No-one likes to see you change, to climb out of your box, to break-through into new territory that they don’t understand or relate to. So inevitably, despite a new found happiness and freedom, this year has been an emotional obstacle course for me, and I am tired.

This is the year I also chose to take little to no time off from work. Woe is me? Not really. I have saved up all that time to go somewhere I have always wanted to go. A holiday I would never have had the chance to do in my previous life. In a total cliché, I broke up with someone and immediately booked myself on a flight to Thailand, with an 8 month delay. Apparently planned spontaneity is my thing. 


My good friend and I both went through our Big Break Ups at the start of the year, and it worked out ideally when we turned to each other and said “LETS GO.” Since the day we booked that holiday, we’ve between the two of us experienced every stress under the sun. And I haven’t even seen the bloody sun. It’s been an absolute marathon, and whilst it’s done me good to just keep moving, I have so little left in reserve. BUT, finally, two weeks today my pal and I are going away for that adventure, and I couldn’t need it more. The emphasis is not on needing the exotic trip – that is just the cherry on the timeout that I am ultimately craving.

This year has been everything. It’s been stressful, it’s been liberating, it’s been heartbreaking, it’s been gruelling, it’s been fun, it’s been exhausting, it’s been challenging, it’s been hopeful, it’s been unexpected, it’s been unpredictable, it’s been rewarding, it’s been pivotal, it’s been an education. It’s been mine. It’s been long. It’s not over.

The period of turbulence isn’t over either, I know that. I won’t waltz into 2016 worry-free, I know that too (I'd be more likely to fox-trot). It is going to come with even more change, but they are changes I am excited about, that I am expecting, that I know will feed my soul. Meanwhile, for me and 2015 a lot of the hard work is done. I can jump on that plane in two weeks, soak up some sunshine and adventure, and end this year strong, fighting, and hopeful. I will come back with returned resilience, absolutely no tan, and hopefully a few less ailments.

x




08 October, 2015

Doing friendship at 29


Friends are the business. They are the family you get to choose. They are the cherry on your cake, the stars in your sky, your support bra, your walking stick, the cushions in your en suite. And while I have a decidedly beautiful array of cushions and walking sticks, my twenties have proven a challenging time for friendships.

Not because my friends haven’t been the bollocks throughout, oh how they have, but because life takes us increasingly away from our mates. As much as they are the very THING we probably most benefit from spending time with (subject to Significant Others), they can be the hardest to get to. On my list of “hurdles between me and my support network” I have; challenging jobs and long hours, money (not enough of), time (not enough of), responsibilities, marriages and kids (not mine), and pure geography. Nipping for a coffee with your best mate isn't as handy when they’re at the bottom of the M1.

Yet these aren't the relationships you can maintain with the occasional endorsement on LinkedIn, these are the ones that need serious face time, dammit. And while Apple cottoned on quick and gave us FaceTime, even that isn't the same as a real human hug and a chat with the ones who build you up. Even with the best will in the world, it can be so hard to make the time to spend with good friends. You can value someone with your life, and see them but once a year.

As I get close to 30 though, I am really proud of the group of friends I have around me. Not only did I find the confidence to cleanse the knob’ed ones out in my early twenties, but of the group of us left standing, we stand so strong, because we have been to BATTLE together. We have stood the test of time and distance, we have grown and changed and done our twenties to death, and we reach 30 with a tighter bond than ever.

For me, maintaining good friendships in adulthood takes commitment, understanding, and the ability to let go – as with any relationship.

Commitment to the fact that even if you can’t see each other for 6 months, you really want to and you WILL make it happen and you’ll send Whatsapps, tweets, emails and cards aplenty in between.

Understanding that if a friend lets you down sometimes, that doesn’t make them a bad one. It just means they got stuck at work , or they got a broken leg, or they accidentally opened all the food in their fridge and needed to finish it whilst keeping an eye on the TV. Can you say multitask? For me it's about recognising that when a friend sometimes can’t make it to us when we need them, they are still a great friend. And instead of feeling let down we say “that’s okay, life is hard, eat the ice cream, I’ll still be here when the sugar wears off.”

Letting it go when your friend hasn’t been exactly who you wanted them to be. So they slept through your lunch plans, or they forgot to call, or they bought the shoes you were coveting. Let it go. Seriously. Because unless they slept with your boyfriend or sold your favourite Nan, the only friends you should be keeping are the ones who can get away with sometimes f*cking up, because the rest of the time they are just there for you, championing you, supporting you and being mega great.

Above all that, it's remembering why you are friends. My best friend from school and I live such different lives. We live 200 miles apart. We have completely opposite working schedules and move in different worlds. She's amongst beauty, glitz and glamour every day. I work in a digital bubble. My most glamorous possession is posh humous. To summarise: last weekend she was hitting up festivals and I was baking fig rolls.

In many ways we couldn't be more at odds. And sometimes that’s really hard. But, we keep our sh*t together. We are right there for every birthday, every break-up and every hilarious blunder. We still value all the same qualities in each other that existed 12 years ago, we just have to fight a little harder now we aren't sat next to each other in Psychology.


But these mates of mine, they are worth every long phone call, every mile, every hungover drive home, because I treasure them so very much. Good things happening to my friends is as good as good things to happening to me. I am proud of all their successes, and celebrate them as if they were my own. I’ll always invest my last bit of energy in maintaining these precious gems. And they do the same for me. I recently left my friend an audio Whatsapp late on a Sunday night, from what can only be described as my death bed, to explain I’d not replied as I’d been throwing up all day and unable to read words after downing doubles until 4am. But I could't NOT reply. I mean if that’s not commitment. 


This post was inspired by an article I read the other day about the importance of holding onto good friends. It said “tell your friends you love them now, and if they've hurt you or pissed you off, get over it, get round it, get through it, because you just don’t know what is ahead.” I nodded and grunted vehemently at every word. So much so that the man next to me offered me a hanky.

x

04 October, 2015

25 questions a twenty-something girl might ask

  1. Where are all the Kirby grips? No seriously. Who has them? 
  2. Why do they claim half a tin of soup is a portion? Is it a trick? 
  3. I’ve been drinking wine conscientiously for a strong 12 years. Yet, one glass and I’m hammered? 
  4. Can I go one more day without washing my hair? It’s just Such. An. Effort. 
  5. Do I NEED to do yoga to achieve a yoga bum? 
  6. How important is ironing? Really? 
  7. Is it okay that I AM EQUAL TO MAN but also want them to pay and do all the fancy gestures? Don’t answer that. 
  8. I didn’t text back for like, an hour. That’s “cool”, right? 
  9. They ladder before interviews, they are a nightmare to wiggle on and completely unsexy to wiggle off. For the love of god will someone please design a better tight? 
  10. What do we want? Free tampons! When do we want them? Now! 
  11. Megan Fox can’t be real? 
  12. That day of the week that you just cannot and your hair is greasy and you didn’t have time for make-up and there’s toothpaste on your (creased) blouse, and suddenly everyone’s all “Oooh you look great, I love your hair all dripping like that.” HOW? 
  13. But, it doesn’t count when you eat chips off someone else’s plate or in two half portions? DOES IT? Very sad, chubby face. 
  14. How many times can I view someone’s Facebook before it can reasonably be considered stalking? 
  15. How seriously should I be considering switching to “matcha”? (Bet it’s no matcha for my Yorkshire tea).
  16. How do people BUY HOUSES? *increases overdraft* 
  17. Do I care that I just destroyed a whole, large pizza in a time when Kate Hudson “avoids complex carbs”? Not really. 
  18. Do I own too many pairs of “cute” pyjamas for a fully grown adult? And more importantly, do I spend too much time in them? 
  19. How can I upload a selfie without it looking like I am uploading a selfie? 
  20. Where do broken hearts go? 
  21. I wonder what my actual bra size is? 
  22. Which Friends character am I most like? Rachel? Did you say Rachel? I think you mean Rachel. 
  23. I have a few “good years” left on my metabolism, right? *Goes in for thirds* 
  24. Will anyone notice that I a) have no idea what I am doing b) have been blagging it since I graduated and c) am A CHILD INSIDE?
  25. What would Zooey do? 










03 October, 2015

#WIDN - October




(This is a BIT late as I've been poorly sick, but please see below my late entry into #WIDN October).

Dealing with my parents use of technology

My mum has just discovered the dictate function on texts, and is going to town with the new-fangled feature. However, it often scribes her words incorrectly. And she doesn't change them. Often her messages take some serious translation and most recently she announced my 31 year old sister was going to Butlins. “Abby is going to Butlin. Ha ha But. Lynn. Well you know what I mean. I am on dictate.” Berlin. Abi is going to BERLIN.

Meanwhile, the last time I rang my Dad there was just a load of squeaking on the end of the phone. I have no idea what button he’d pressed. I text him, defeated, saying it sounded like Alvin, Simon and Theordore had answered the phone to which he replied “lol!” and I haven’t’ heard from him since.*

Living alone

Technically, I have been doing this since March, but now it’s been long enough that I know it suits me. This is the first time I've lived by my actual self, and it was a bloody scary move. Going back into a house-share was not an option. After living with a partner, you go past the point of being able to deal with anyone else’s idiosyncrasies other than theirs or your own. I have become far too selfish with my personal space and I don’t want to have to live with anymore drug addicts, alcoholics or people who do not shower (all true).

I was a bit scared of being lonely, bored and…well, scared. But honestly? There hasn’t been time for that. My feet haven’t touched the ground this year, and I love that my downtime is just that. Yes I am skint, and as a single occupant you are responsible for everything to the point you can’t so much as miss a bin day - that’s exhausting. And sometimes it would be nice if some form of food was just there when I got in after a long day. Yet with all that said, the good more than outweighs the bad, and I’m very much enjoying being miss independent (with a little help from my friends). Throw your hands up AT ME.

Baking a hellalot

This may not come as any great surprise to those who know me, as baking is my religion at the best of times. There I am, every Sunday, holding up my whisk in worship. But right now I am in a complete baking frenzy. The cold Autumn air, the Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, Paul Hollywood’s steely Blue eyes and, dare I say it, the first hints of festivity. It all just makes me want to get up at dawn, don an apron and create batter all day long. So I mainly do.

Cutting and sticking

Creating has always been my anchor. From my earliest days when I’d happily lose whole weekends crafting paper lanterns (can I hear Watch with Mother yo!), paper-mache-ing some rather attractive vases, sketching the fruit bowl for the 700th time, and building Ferries out of shoeboxes (what?). In grown-up times, creating has become other things – baking, blogging, cards and collages. (The world just wasn’t ready for my cardboard catamarans).

The last few months I have been in a much freer place, and creating has become the centre of my being again. Nothing makes me happier than a day spent locked away, making things. I will easily plan whole weekends around my want to do this. It’s my therapy, it’s my ME, it’s so fun. Would anyone like some personalised bunting? 


Buying all of the Benefit counter

I switched to 'proper' make-up when the world decided I was ready for a grown-up salary. Ironically, this meant that last Christmas I forked out £50 on a Benefit gift set for myself (half the content of which I ALREADY HAD) just because it came in a pretty, festive, gingerbread house tin. Those guys know what women want, and if it isn’t fairy-tale themed aluminium.

Since being poor again (sigh) I’ve had to cut back on my Topshop habit and Graze boxes, but some corners cannot be cut and proper foundation is one of them. My friend once said to me that her Mum said to her (bear with me) “you only get one face.” Profound. Since that day I have invested my last pennies in ensuring I treat my one face as well as I can. And the Benefit counter is just SO pretty at this time of year.


Doing an emotion on 2015

I think of October as the penultimate scene in the play of the year. That act before the finale, where you start to see the end of the year, ready to wrap the whole thing up in a bow. You’re not quite there, but you know it’s coming, and all the characters of your life are poising to take their bow. 


2015 has been really quite something, and it’s by far from over. There are so many adventures to tend to still before the year is out, but I already know that it is forever going to remain in my memory as one of the most pivotal and profound years of my whole life. Oh, sentimental me.

Schmaltzing (that's a word)


I am clearly in a very sentimental time in my life, as barely a day goes by that I don’t post a card or stick another photo on my pinboard. As much as we live in a virtual world, I think these tangible forms of love are so important. I surround myself with memories, and make sure to tell people how much I value them in a way that means a little more than a quoted re-tweet.

Fan-girling hard on my own friends

I rave about my friends a lot and they get a lot of airtime here, because they prop me up and make my world go round all at the same time. Like a hand twirling a tiny disco ball. Each and every one of my friends gives me something so unique, and when I reflect on the amazing, supportive, strong group of girls I have around me I just feel so lucky and proud.

When you go through something big, your friends show you what they are really made of, and how selfless they can be. And this year mine have blown me all the way away with their thoughtfulness, ability to make me laugh and just solid Gold advice. If I valued them before, now I’m ready to have them stored away in a vault (not in like a dark, scary, pyscho way) because I never want to lose these treasures.

New Girl Series 4

I just watched the entire series in a very short space of time, and after a shaky series 3 it seems the show has rediscovered its verve. Whatever you think of Jess and her entourage, any show with Schmidt in is well worth losing 2 days of your life to.


*update: I heard from him mid this blog post, via a voicemail that said "Hello love, I am in a car park sometimes known as the M4. Anyway, hope to speak soon!"

26 September, 2015

The 7 types of weekend twenty-something girls have



1. Going OUT OUT

In increasingly short supply, these weekends are also more and more meaningful. These are the 3-dayers you have blocked out in your diary months in advance, with scribbles like “REUNI-ON” “COCKTAILS” and “UPTOWN FUNKATHON WITH DEM GIRLS.” They used to be two-a-penny – hell there was a time we were stereotyping ourselves with bottles of pink Lambrini every Friday night – but now, you’re lucky if you get to paint the town but once a month.

What now lacks in quantity is more than made up for in laughing, dancing, wine, talkingveryveryfast, endless tales of triumphs and troubles, getting ready together, group selfies, “outfit” shots, comparing hip flasks (I said flasks, we may be old but we mainly still have our own joints) and just basically remembering that you, as a group, rule the freaking world.

2. Food, box-sets and Instagramming your new pyjamas

These lifelines are also planned weeks ahead. Your next weekend where you have NOTHING TO DO. What was once a terrifying concept is now the most hankered after weekend on the High Street. Provided you have a decent box-set, some kind of deep-fried cheese meal, a world of snacks and a new pair of hipster pyjamas, you are ready to roll.

You get home that Friday, immediately put on pyjamas, tweet your joy for all to envy and bunker down until Sunday afternoon. And you feel no guilt, because you work 50 hours a week, you do your daily exercise and you eat your greens. And YOU – you earned this, dammit. Just keep your charger handy because the amount of Facebook stalking and re-tweeting you do this weekend is likely to escalate.

3. Regressing to childhood

Sometimes, life gets too much. There are times when we need to put down the laptop, step away from the unpaid bills and shopping lists, and hurry home to our parents. The aim of these weekends is to forget you ever graduated from school. You will definitely argue with a sibling, eat constantly and directly out of the fridge, stomp around in your pyjamas and roll your eyes when you have to, like, sit up at the table for dinner.

You’ll then cry your eyes out when you have to go back to the big bad world, just like on your first day of school.

Good for the soul, though.

4. Doing fun things that don’t involve drinking and make you feel really grown-up and together

Straight out of Cara Delevigne’s Filofax, these will start with an actual casual drink. You know how every now and then you go for “one” and then actually have “one” and feel like a complete hero the next day?

Said weekend thereafter will be full of haircuts, coffee dates, afternoon teas, cinema trips, spa afternoons, “catch-ups”, dinner parties and maybe even a baby shower. In the aftermath, you’ll bask in the glory of being a social butterfly, and congratulate yourself endlessly for achieving fun without rum.


5. The one that escalates

There is no getting around it, this one leaves you with a sense of nothing but absolute devastation until you reach the following Friday.

What was meant to be one casual glass of wine after work has this time left you bankrupt, drowning in your own toxins and with no recollection of the moves you made on the dance floor and, if you’re lucky, one of your colleagues. Not only that, you slept through your Saturday plans and felt too rough to face that Sunday roast.

What emerges on Monday morning is a shell-shocked, guilt-ridden, train-wreck of a soul who needs several strong coffees and regular Whatsapp pep-talks from the mates you took down with you. #MondayMotivation can p*ss right off.

6. Productive and proud

Usually taking place not long after the above, we go into full redemption mode and challenge ourselves to a “good” weekend. It’s purely a conscious-clearing exercise, we know this. 

We buy vegetables from a green-grocers. We cook everything from scratch. We hang sheets on the line and feel like we’re going to bed with angels when we get between those Lenor covers. We catch up on our correspondence and smugly send a Whatsapp list of all productive tasks we have achieved to all friends who’ll pretend to care. We feel smug, rested and pure.

And then, come Monday, when someone asks how our weekend was we ignore them because they would judge us for being so bloody boring.

7. Wedding belles


If your twenties are your best years so far, it is mainly because of all of the weddings. We thought life wouldn’t get any better than all those 21st birthdays we attended, but oh how it does.

You turn up in the chic as hell outfit you have had planned for months, sunglasses in tow. You pose at the pre-bar with all your mates like ONE OF US IS GETTING MARRIED. You cry your eyes out during the ceremony like I CANNOT BELIEVE ONE OF US IS GETTING MARRIED. You do social media updates all day long #bridenamegroomnamewedding. You are free and easy with the bride and heart emojis. You cane your way through free champagne and you eat Every. Single. Dish. Provided. You dance all night long with the people you love the very most. You weep at the beauty of it all. You run off with a wheel of cheese from the midnight buffet. 


You wake up in face down in a tangle of bacon roll, wedding favours and Kirby grips.

Move over Christmas, we found a new favourite.

20 September, 2015

An open letter to 20 year old me


Hi young me,

It’s lovely up here at 29. It’s not an age I ever particularly looked forward to, as you know, but honestly it’s been my happiest in many ways. I have a confidence you haven’t known yet, I’m earning good money, I finally tapped back into my creativity, I developed a much thicker skin than you have now, but I didn’t sacrifice any of my soft heart you’ll be pleased to know. I’m strong, healthy, and actually quite resilient.

But it hasn’t always been this way has it Hannah? It’s hard to believe I got here from where you are now. I know you think I am old, boring and a long way off, but as your older self, I feel like you might benefit from my wisdom.

I have a world of advice for you, a decade in fact, but what I mostly want to say is; stop worrying. Stop worrying about everything, because what happens to you in the next 10 years is more than you can ever imagine. You will meet so many people that you don’t even know exist yet, and they’re all going to contribute to this amazing, crazy journey that is your twenties.

All you need to do to enjoy the ride is tap back into your confidence, work on the things you love, and continue being the loving, honest girl that you are – that will take you to where you need to be and enable you to love the life you’re in.

x

Your young heart

That boy you think you are destined to marry – you aren't. I know, it was a shock to me too. But come on, you are only 20! He arrived like this absolute prince when you were just 16, and you will feel so sad when it ends (which is pretty soon by the way) that you will feel like you can’t breathe and you think no-one has ever EVER felt this pain.

That first cut will be the deepest and you will deal with that heartache in the worst way possible, like this unstoppable disaster. You will come back fighting though, and you will be so glad of that pain because it will teach you how to be so strong in Love. And honestly? I have much higher hopes for you than to end up with someone who let you down like that.

You might not believe it now, but one day you will be brave enough not only to endure more break-ups, but to prompt them yourself. So please, please don't let this one boy ruin your university years, because one day you'll find this mad, mad love and you’ll realise this wasn’t THAT.

P.S. You develop a bit of a habit for bad-boys at 21, but they are really no good for you, they’ll bleed you dry. Save yourself a world of heartache now and step away from the mean men, because there is a lot to be said for the good guys. One day, one of those good guys will take such good care of you, and you’ll feel like a princess, and you just won’t believe you ever gave the wrong’uns the time of day.

Your body


You’re going through a strange time with your body, because you are battling with who you are. You may have overcome your anorexia and think you’re now okay in that respect, but you’re not really – you have a way to go. You don’t take care of yourself and you still think skinny equals attractive. Will you just embrace your damn curves? One day you will appreciate your tummy, shapely legs, and bum. Work it, girl! You’re a twenty year old woman not a teenage boy.

It’s such a shame you stopped with the exercise too (because you got too busy drinking!) You loved sport at school, why did you give that up? It used to give you so much strength and confidence to do the things you love, and you won’t realise how much that’s holding you down now that you have stopped. Prioritise finding a sport again as it will be the making of you.

Also, will you please eat breakfast? Skipping it won't save you calories; it will just wreck your metabolism and your nervous system. At 29 it’s your absolute favourite meal of the day, so please just start eating like a normal human at normal human times.

Treat your body right and the rest will follow, I promise. In a few years you'll be so fit and healthy – your legs will run thousands of miles, they'll be fierce and ready for the fight, and you'll recognise that strong is attractive

Your anxious mind

Get involved in something at University other than socialising. You have so many interests, but you are letting yourself down at the moment as you aren’t enjoying any of them and it’s crushing your strength of mind. You have so much time to reinforce your skills and make the most of yourself at the moment, and if you don't use that time now you'll forever regret it. Having something of your own away from the drama of everyone else will protect you through the rough ride that is your University years.

Young, selfish people around you will fill you with this idea that keeping your emotions close to the surface is a weakness. Do not let believe them, because it's not true. They are just not mature enough to handle your depth yet. But one day you'll be surrounded by people who value and deserve your emotion and passion. Keep being you.

Friends

You have a lot of these, but not all of them are good for you. Over the next few years you are going to cleanse out a few of the negative ones. Be brave enough to do that. Don't stay around people who show you up and put you down.

It’s sad to know you are doing that right now, but soon you are going to meet people who really see you and support you, and constantly remind you of your own worth. The friends you have at 29 are going to be like your family, and they’ll celebrate and support you like nothing on this earth.

Money


Credit cards! God, you and your credit cards. No-one taught you about managing money, and you are shocking with it. You think it will be 'easy' to pay back the Red when you start work. It won't. You'll be nearly 30 and still repaying that debt. Please think twice before whacking yet another festival on borrowed cash. They never should have given you a Platinum Visa aged 18. I'm still pretty angry with Barclays about that! I am also angry with you, you aren’t stupid and you’re good at maths – so where is your common sense?

That said, you know money isn’t the most important thing in life, and I’m proud of you for that. You always valued love over money; you'd marry someone who lived in a cardboard box for as long as you loved him. You still need to be able to support yourself though. It's a wild world, it's good to have something in reserve and, trust me, a day will come when you'll really, really need that.

Your “style”

Your dress sense is a bit of a shambles for the next few years, you kind of lost your way a bit didn’t you? You don’t enjoy choosing clothes at the moment because you have zero body confidence, but work on that confidence, because then you will have the poise to learn what actually suits you, and develop your own style.

Dressing to be sexy should not be your main priority. For the love of Vogue woman, lose those tight short shiny skirts and wear things that complement your shape, that reflect who you are. You suit shorts, skinny jeans (I know right!), cap sleeves, collars and, believe it or not, midi-skirts. Please avoid vest tops and those ridiculous bling ear-rings from Primark.

Your life

Right now you have no idea what you want, where you want to be, what you want to do, or how you'll get there. You don’t really think about it because you are frantically trying to be what other people want you to be. You have no idea what you are worth and you have completely forgotten what you have to offer to this world.

Do not worry, your time is coming, but you have to earn it.

Your twenties aren’t going to be how you might have planned in a dream, but life is going to bring to you all the things you are supposed to get from it, and you are going to give so much back in return.

You have some seriously amazing adventures ahead of you, so put a smile on, find the YOU you know you really are, and show ‘em what you’re made of.

18 September, 2015

30 things women who are 29 think


1. I am going to have the mother of 30th birthdays. Everyone I have ever known will be there. I will wear a crown and drink Cristal all day long. For the whole week. A month. Sod it, let’s just start now.

2. I was already two when my mother was my age. Just going to let that sink in.

3. I am not doing ANYTHING for my 30th birthday and the only people invited are Oreos and Homeland. I might Insta it.

4. Must chop off hair now that I am of age. And maybe lose the highlighted bangs. P.S. Scrub off that temporary Take That Forever tattoo.

5. Screw that. I AM RHIANNA. Pass me the pink hair dye and me bell-bottoms.

6. Should I have been to more places by now? *books flights to exotic country*

7. It is still ages until I can retire. 

8. MORE hair??? 

9. Candles! Shelves! Tupperware! Oh my! Let me take a #shelfie.

10. ALL my friends are settled down. What’s wrong with me?

11. ALL my friends are out having loads of fun. What’s wrong with me?

12. I resent scrolling this far back to find my birth year. They should make it easier for old people, not harder.

13. THERE IS SO MUCH FUN TO DO. *Pushes life plan back by ten years*

14. The youth may have hi-jacked Instagram, but I invented Facebook.

15. Got ID’d in a supermarket. I am youthful and radiant. Need to tweet this immediately so that everyone knows I am youthful and radiant.

16. Anna Kendrick is also 29 and is Working. It. It’s all okay.

17. Anna Kendrick is also 29, and made world fame and mega-bucks. I’m still maxing out my over-draft and heating one room at a time. This is not okay.

18. “Mortgage”? I thought you said “spend all your disposable income in Topshop you absolute baller.”

19. I love my Topshop wardrobe. And my Kenwood Mixer. I am so conflicted right now.


20. I am bossing it. Look at me go. Career woman, supporting myself, getting regular waxes, occasionally cleaning out my fridge. #BossBabe

21. Am I actually Bridget Jones right now?

22. I might miss all my clothes being from Primark and wearing £2 disposable shoes.

23. Should probably stop going out and getting really hammered and getting kicked out of taxis for smuggling McDonalds in and then crying. Sigh.

24. Wine is my boyfriend.

25. At least I don’t have to keep a Tamagotchi alive anymore.

26. Mind of a woman, body of a girl. Yeah, you better run!

27. Soon I will go and do my actual life in New York City. That must be due to happen soon.

28. I miss my painful, insecure, poor, dramatic, piss-drunk early twenties.

29. Gosh, would you just look at my fine selection of beautiful bed-sheets, Mac lipsticks and matching underwear. I am so Cosmo I can barely think straight.

30. When will the dinner parties start? I am ready to start swishing cognac.

Anything to add?

x



15 September, 2015

13 Things I'd like to Get off My Chest


I love a positive attitude. I write blog posts designed to uplift, my Instagram is full of those motivational quotes, and if I use the ‘strong arm’ emoji any more frequently I will actually get strong arms from the effort. I ‘This Girl Can’ and ‘LETS DO THIS’ all over social media. My house is covered in reminders and “sayings”, cushions telling me about my home and my heart, posters shrieking LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE, DAMMIT! Basically, I do my bit for positivity. 

This is all a caveat for what I am about to say. 

Gripes and grievances are a part of life, and sometimes it is necessary to acknowledge the negatives. There is a difference between relentless bellyaching, and occasionally just having the courage to stand up and say “well this is bullsh*t”, and I admire the latter. I find it brave, I find it can actually be productive and, when delivered in the right way, I find it funny.

I shocked myself to the very core when I fell head over heels for Karl Pilkington’s “Moaning of Life” (the programme, not the man himself, although he does have a fascinatingly shiny bald head). I was addicted to his dry humour and frank observations. It was refreshing and plain funny to watch. Away from my TV, I often find it amusing when people have the nerve to call a spade a spade, with no pretence, and no disclaimer that they must then explain themselves.

There is something to be admired in people who are willing to put their neck on the line and complain. Sometimes it's awkward and everyone looks around them for the nearest tumble-weed, but sometimes it's the beginning of a positive change. Aside from that, it just is more genuine to acknowledge the things that ruffle your feathers. As much as I aim to be positive, my main god is actually honesty, and within honesty there is space for all sentiment.

Sometimes, another person’s whining is as encouraging as their motivational anecdotes, because within that truth you find you are not alone - they hate it too! They think it too! I am not a freak! And who doesn't love a hearty dose of validation?

So, to celebrate the human ability to moan (the humoan™), I have listed some things that have annoyed me lately. Enjoy! Or not. Whatever. I went for unlucky number 13.

(I should also add – if you read your way round my house carefully, you’ll find a mug with “FML” in giant letters, hidden right there at the back. Because FML is sometimes how it feels).

x

1. Internet Explorer. For the best-known browser in the history of the World Wide Web, it doesn’t half need to catch-up (it does need to).

2. Sexism. Relentless, unrecognised, often subconscious sexism. Should this even be a thing at this point in human life?

3. Is ALL of mobile phone signal getting worse?

4. Girls series 4, when are you going to make it out onto DVD? I almost can’t remember the lead character’s name. Which is my name. HURRY UP!

5. Carrier bags are thinner. Again. I know we’re trying to save money and the planet, but my shopping is all over the high street and that’s my butternut squash on display.

6. When I woke up and I wasn’t Jennifer Lawrence. Again.

7. I DIDN'T MEAN TO GET IN THE WRONG LANE. Roads are hard. If you can't stop tutting at me, would it kill you at least to acknowledge the desperation of my indicator and let me in??

8. This is a two paragraphed moan. Recently, on a train somewhere, a man asked for a sandwich from the trolley. There were no sandwiches on the trolley, only in the buffet bar. The man said to the assistant “okay I’ll walk down and get one”, only to be told ‘2nd class’ passengers aren’t ALLOWED to go and buy food from the buffet bar. They must wait for the trolley. Which doesn’t have sandwiches.

So, to sum up, a paying customer wasn’t permitted to go and buy food which he had the money for, at lunchtime, when he was hungry, because he chose not to pay extortionate fares just to sit in a slightly comfier carriage. He. Was. Livid. And so I was I. I’ve never seen anyone eat a bag of crisps so grudgingly.

9. When did our private lives stop being just that? As a talker, noise-maker and social media pimp, I share a lot. But what I share and when I choose to share it – that’s my prerogative. We don’t have the right to demand to know everything about each other’s lives. So let’s not get so used to information overload that we start to think we’re entitled to it. We’re absolutely not.

10. Chargers, headphones, and batteries. Why you be so rubbish! Thank you Apple for changing the world, but my phone is dead, my charger is frayed and everyone can hear what I’m listening to (and it’s not cool). When are you going to sort all that out?

11. Penny sweets aren’t 1p anymore, and haven't been for some time. So there’s that.

12. Another day, another cult diet. A diet where “alcohol, carbs, fruit and any other vegetables are OFF the menu.” Mmmm NOURISHING. I cannot.

13. That said, a pizza with a hole in is not “low-calorie”, it’s just half of food.


13 September, 2015

Laugh harder



Spoiler, the following might make you wince. I have “Life is Better when You’re Laughing” stenciled across my bedroom wall. In GIANT letters. I know. Although today, in the age of motivational quotes, this is bang on trend, I will more than likely look back on this choice of décor one day and cringe at my very self. For now, hear me out. 

There is no handier tool for facing the challenges of our world, and preventing the worst of emotions from growing roots in your heart, than humour. We've long since known it, Patch Adams knew it, and now my bedroom wall knows it too. My days have required perhaps more than a normal dose of humour this year. If 2015 were on match.com, its profile would read: “Excitable year, age 2015. Bit of a lunar-tic. Don’t contact me if you are a leap year. GSOH absolutely necessary.”

It’s not always easy to have good humour, like when you have to catch a train on 3 hours sleep, after a fun night of vomming (nice), with a world of personal woes doing a merry dance in the background, and still, somehow, schmooze. It’s not always a hoot when after the most ridiculous day you find yourself walking home in the pissing rain with no jacket or brolly, no cash, wearing sandals that do not want to remain on your feet and your top has gone see-through p.s. (Both recent events from  my life). Sometimes, in those moments, you just want to lie down and have a bawl. But sometimes after the tears, after the ARE.YOU.KIDDING.MEs, after the histrionics – sometimes, you just reach a point of just finding it all funny. 

Sadness, anger and all those things will always have their moments in our lives, but how much they consume us? We have some control over that.

For me, it comes down to distraction. When a child is crying, you shake a maraca in their face and suddenly it’s like Santa appeared behind you. The tears just stop. The look of utter disbelief on their faces. What IS this wondrous object? And when will I be old enough to SHAKE IT!? They forget they are upset and then they aren't anymore. Guess. What. It works on adults too. The only difference is, we have to work to distract ourselves.

It’s easier once you make the decision to look at life’s challenges in a different way. To see your life as a story unfolding, and look forward to it with curiosity and excitement, rather than dread. It’s a mental switch. It involves sort of watching your own life as though it were The Mindy Project or better still, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s about stopping taking it all so seriously and knowing that this is just one day, or one phase, and actually it’s really not that bad compared to real, human struggles. Which most of us are fortunate enough to never have to face.

Last night I was talking to a friend about one of the many hilarious scenarios in the carousel of my life, and she said “Hannah, I don’t know how you are laughing!” Because it be funny. I do find my own mistakes and the ridiculous situations I find myself in to be mainly entertaining, except for when I am in a really bad mood and that’s usually because I haven’t been fed.

I can honestly say that even on some of the most terrifying, sad, draining days of this year, I have laughed at least once. And that’s been a god send. There are a few tricks to keeping merriment up and sadness down, and I wanted to share mine with you. If something brings you down this week, step back and add a funny caption to the scenario – it might make all the difference.

x

Join the comedy club

Buddying up with comedians (or indeed, comediennes) is a great start. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by funny people. At work, among my friends, hell, even my landlord makes me giggle. I grew up alongside the funniest girl I know (my older sister) and I follow as many funny people as I can on Twitter. I just love funny people. So much. Because they bring all of us a smile and sometimes they don’t realise what a difference that makes to our day.

Those little things

I have said this countless times, in countless blog posts, but in little things there is just endless joy. It’s not so easy to touch on when big life shite is weighing you down, but most days you can find something at least to smile about. And a smile is the beginning of a laugh. Most recently for me, I have been overjoyed by the Starbucks Autumn cup design and a £12 cardi from Primark.I mean, high life.

Puns

I find puns in everything. It’s exhausting, but there is always pun to be had.

Absorb funny content

The difference it can make to my day when a film, a book, an article or even a tiny tweet has made me laugh is absolute. It just combats my anxiety and helps me gain perspective. Part of my job involves delivering training to big groups of people, and despite having done it for a while now I always feel nervous, and sometimes seriously anxious, on the way there. So I save my favourite funny reads for the train ride - it gives me perspective and helps me feel strong. I can recommend anything by Tom Craine. When there’s signal I’ll hit YouTube and watch hilarious, strong women bossing it at speeches.

“It is a happy to talent to know how to play” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Because I can barely write a post without referencing big RWE. And beacause my friends and I do a few things that are a bit like the grown-ups answer to play (no, I am not talking about sex). Mainly, we talk in accents. When arranging social plans, it’s Australian. When discussing big life issues, it’s American (there is a crucial difference).

On the surface it’s just a silly thing we do that’s annoying for other people, but underneath that it’s a way of taking a step back from our own lives, remembering this is just one part of our story, and remembering not to take ourselves too bladdy seriously!

Let your inner child out

The other day someone said of me “you are just a really big child!” Apart from the reference to “really big” (rude) I took this as the ultimate compliment. Yes, I can be really, really silly. And I think it’s important. Being someone who is sensitive and feels all the emotions in a big way, I have had to learn the importance of entertaining my inner child. Because when you do that, your heart sort of learns to feel lighter.

My favourite people are those who can (when appropriate) embrace their childish urges and who aren’t bound by a need to “be” grown-up all the time. BORING. Yes, watch the news and earn your wage and try to understand who’s running the country, but eat sweets for breakfast sometimes, wear a onesie and for the love of God ride on the legs of the trolley at the supermarket.

08 September, 2015

#WIDN - September



I like to make mental lists of all things that I have to look forward to on any given day, in any given week, for the remainder of the year. On a bad day, it helps to see past whatever sh*t you might be wading through, and on a good day it's just really exciting to think about all the things that put the icing on your metaphorical cake. Incidentally, the Bake Off is currently one of the things on my list.

Sometimes I focus on big things, like holidays and dreams for the future, and other times it's just about the small things, the little islands that carry us from dawn to dusk each day.

At the moment, I am enjoying a few new things in my world. Partly because it's that time of year - GBBO! Chunky knits! #MICLA! - and partly because I'm immersing myself in a whole new chapter of my life, a fresh world and a different horizon.

These are some of the things currently making my days, painting a smile on my face (quite literally #6) and helping me to love life.

What are you enjoying this year?


x

1. Netflix
I was such a late adopter of Netflix it's a wonder they even took me on. Now, I couldn't spend a better £6.99 every month. Having refused to partake for the best part of my online life, I have finally discovered that Orange really is the new Black, that Homeland is 100% where the heart is, and that DVD box-sets are pure retro.

2. Having my own daymn car

It is probably a gift that I haven't been driving as long as most (to say I had a speeding ticket within two weeks of passing and have no sense of direction to speak of) but man I'm happy to have discovered the joys not only of driving, but having MY. OWN.VEHICLE. The independence, the freedom, the thrill of cruising with the petrol warning light shining bright in your eyes...It be tiny, it break my bank, it might emulate pure Noddy, but it's mine and it matches so many of my clothes.


3. First signs of Autumn

I am not the first person to say this, but I'll say it anyway. Autumn may not be Summer but it rocks in it's own colourful way and I have been permanently excited since the temperature dropped. Mainly because of leaves, cardigans/coats/boots, THE HEATING, and all of Autumn TV. Rock ON.

4. Eating*

Meals. Food. Thinking about food. Talking about food. Making food. Eating food. Looking at other people's food. Cooking. Baking. Watching other people baking. Shopping for food. Browsing menus of eateries on the other side of the world and planning what I'll eat when I go there in 2019. That is normal.

*this has been a constant since 1986 and is not specific to now.

5. Having pen-pals. Plural.

For one so online and so very social media, I do love a traditional correspond. And I am happy to announce that I've this year secured my self a few pen-pals. Not only do I get to buy out half of Paperchase, I get to receive the other half back through my letterbox. Never again will a motivational postcard go un-bought.

6. LIP. STICK.

I feel mainly naked if I leave the house without Lipstick on. Some days it's my armor. When I am ill, it makes me FEEL better to look brighter. When I am happy it matches my mood. When I am exhausted at life it averts the eyes so you won't notice the attractive saggy bags under mine. I am currently sporting Heroine by Mac, as inspired by Hannah Gale, and I feel like a Heroine in it.

7. Friends. The actual ones.

Okay, okAY. So we all love our friends. But still, mine need a mention here. They have stepped all the way up in what's been a transitional year for me. They have made me laugh, sent me cards, got me (very) drunk, kept me sane, made me proud, inspired me, amazed me, humoured me and basically just been the absolute balls. Thank you, friends. If birds of a feather really do stick together then I must be awesome because you guys rock my world.

8. Autumn viewing


How timely that just when you want to swap your stilettos for slippers and your wine for...sofa wine, we're being fully seduced by the new series of everything. X Factor has slipped out of my life this past few years, but I am so excited to say it's making a full comeback. No, I do not care that you judge me, I just wish it was Rita Ora and Simon Cowell judging me so that I could go back stage and meet Caroline of Flack fame. And let's not forget, Bake Off, Made in Chelsea, Luther, Downton Abbey (Admittedly I don't actually watch this, but who knows what might happen this year) and, okay, football.

9. Planning my H O L I D A Y

I am THAT person who is going away really late in the year. November to be precise. We are annoying people, because we're currently moaning that everyone is going away except us, and that we really need a break. But then we're just bragging about the awesome trip we have planned and how everyone else will be back and we will be like BYE. Being a bit serious, this is the first time I will ever have had more than a week's holiday in all my career, AND it's my first bit of time off all year. Given the year it's been, I am clinging on for dear life for the moment I can just lie down in the sun for 14 days straight, and maybe squeeze in some culture. Thailand tips - welcome.

10. Horizon broadening

I have long since been one to go out there and just soak up life, giving it everything I have got in return, but nothing inspires that more than a big life change. 

This year I have done so many new things, ventured into new territory, faced new fears and challenges, done so much by myself, for myself. I am loving just saying yes to all the adventures life throws my way. There are times in life when you need to stand still, and enjoy where you are, and there are times when you need to move forward, reach further, and travel to horizons you didn't even know were a thing.

11. Grande Americano with hot skimmed milk an a sweetener, please

I only started drinking the bean-based caffeine drug a few months ago and am now a full addict. I love that now I don't need to be boring and order "English breakfast tea" when I go to a coffee shop. I get a biscotti free with my beverage (why don't they give you that when you order tea?) and a pretty pattern on my foam. And I can Instagram my name on a cup with the best of them. Some days, you just need the caffeine  equivalent of a hug and a chat with your best-friend, and I really feel Starbucks can give that to me. Americanyes!

12. Writing again

13. Mapping my run

Running has only ever been for pleasure for me - it's my meditation, my exercise, my inspiration  and my strength. It's only recently I started tracking my distance, time and pace. And, man, does it make you work harder. Sometimes I leave the app at home, if I want a bit of headspace, but most of the time now I track every step. I know the pace I am working towards and I run to that. It can be frustrating on a slow day, but the exhilaration of getting a PB or seeing how far you have run - that's truly something. Currently I am using Map my Run but word on the street is I might switch to Strava. Who knows what could happen.

14. Funny, strong, bright women

Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham - I know it is a cliche that I love you, but for every hilarious speech I see you give, and every inspiring word you write, I give in to that cliche just a little bit more.

15. Actual Cannibal Shia LaBoeuf 



06 September, 2015

Show 'em how big your brave is


"And then there are days when you just put one foot in front of the other."

Or so a friend told me in what was one of my scariest hours. I’d just left a long-term relationship, and the most security I'd ever known. I was 29 years old and, prior to that wild time, I thought I’d “made it” in the love game. I thought I had my life planned out and found my fairy-tale. I thought I’d had my share of confusion and heartache. I thought that was done. But it wasn’t. Not even nearly.

The problem with assuming what’s in store, is that it leaves you extremely vulnerable to those times in life when your fate comes along and runs you all the way over. You're left standing there, looking around you at the rubble, asking a god you don't believe in what the hell just happened. This was NOT. IN. THE. PLAN.

BUT, if I have learnt anything this year, it is that the things we don't plan for are often the best things that can happen to us - sometimes it won't feel like it right away, we sort of have to learn it as we go, but sometimes it will be so glaringly obvious it's blinding. And we need to be brave in those moments, brave enough to just go the hell with it.

That was 6 months ago .I am still 29, pushing 30 really hard. Since then I have taken huge steps into new and unplanned territory.These are the moments when we learn how to be strong - really actually inherently strong. How to take a hard line with things even when you don’t want to. How to face up to what your heart is showing you, even if it’s terrifying. How to get on and live well, keep moving forwards and doing your day, despite how your world might be crumbling around you. Which it will, sometimes.

This year I surprised myself with my own strength (I didn't write all those pearls of advice in previous blog posts just for you guys, I drew on my own advice when I didn't expect to be needing it). What has helped me to be strong during times of great uncertainty has been total faith in my instincts and trust in the process of our wild world. But more than that, strength for me came in complete belief in myself and everything that I am. It doesn't matter what the detail of your life looks like, when you are the structure, you bring the essence of your own life, you are the absolute THING that is going to continue to carry YOU forwards in the life you create - nothing and nobody else.

Every day you’re given a choice; give in to the things that are bearing down on you – they will be many and often – or stand up and live. Stand up and push through with a smile and with faith in your future. Focus on the beyond now. Don’t imagine your life in too much detail, but have trust in it, because it will be more than you can even begin to comprehend right now. Good and bad. There is so much more than whatever your present looks like. So much more.
Even if right now you are having a day where all you can do is put one foot in front of the other - do that. Just do that.
x

p.s. I promise the next post is less emosh. Bare with me.


05 September, 2015

"All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." - Ernest Hemingway



Oh hello, you.

I have missed this feeling. Sat at my laptop (we've progressed from typewriters in earnest) absorbed in a world of words and wonders, the buzz of articulating what I don’t even know I'm thinking until my hands have typed it for me. I have missed this so much.

It is over a year since I put my blogging and, as it turned out, my writing on hold. At the time it was the 'right' thing to do, to take a breather, and reflect on life privately for a bit. Unexpectedly, that privacy allowed me to discover some pretty big things about myself, my life, where I was headed, and what I wanted from my time in this big old world. A lot has happened since that day 1 year ago, when I cried as I typed my “final” blog post, and in many ways I regret that I’ve not documented that journey, as it has been one of the most pivotal years of my life so far.

As I’ve started to come out the other side of it all, and feel my feet back on the ground, the resounding thought in my head has been to write again, and more specifically to blog again. Over time it has become less a thought, and more a deep yearning, a craving.

I recently stumbled across an old blog post in which I write:
"There is nothing that brings you more independence and confidence than having something of your own. A sport, an art, an interest. Finding something which not only helps you express yourself but gives you a haven away from everything and everyone – that is priceless and you’ll need it. The 20s are a rocky, rocky time, and you need an anchor."

My "thing" has always been my writing. It's a haven, meditation, therapy, self-expression, a creative outlet - it's basically what I need to do, it's my home, and it's where I need to go to help me not lose my sh*t. So, here we are again.

It's a bit scary. I stopped blogging once in part because I felt vulnerable being that exposed, and it’s taken me a long time to get to a point I feel comfortable sharing my world again. I had wanted to plan exactly what I was going to write about, a theme or topic that would mean I’m not relying on sharing myself quite so openly, but I’ve not been able to reach a conclusion as to what that might be. And actually, that’s because writing has never been about that for me. It’s been about feeling my way through life, sharing snippets of my world, finding answers in my own words and learning from my own experiences. You can’t plan that, can you?

I don’t know what’s in store for my revived blogging life, except that in an absolutely maverick move, I have changed the font
.

x

These guys though.

"I can shake off everything as I write." - Anne Frank

"All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know." - Ernest Hemingway

"I love writing, I love the swirl and swing of the words as they tangle with human emotions." - James Michener

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." - Maya Angelou

"Write drunk, edit soba" - Ernest Hemingway