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One month on the blog: the journey so far

This post was inspired by one that I read on Love, Geeky Girl, so thank you to Samantha for her candid and inspirational blogging content!

I’ve had my blog for exactly a month today, happy blogiversary to me.

It’s been a really great journey so far, I’m proud of myself for being consistent. I might not post every day, but I’ve also ensured that I’m not posting for the sake of it and that each of my posts reflects my personality and interests.

There’s definitely a way to go, I’m not entirely sure of the direction that I want to go in, but I’m happy with where I am right now.

So far, I’ve covered a range of topics, from mental health, to beauty, to friendships, to smoking, and each post feels authentically me, even if they’re generally a bit all over the place!

I definitely want to keep growing my audience, as well as exploring new themes and topics of conversation. I’d also like to dabble in some web design, as well as featuring my own photography on the site.

I was really hesitant about disclosing my identity at first, which made me reluctant to go into too much detail on a lot of topics.

However, I figure that the chances of me actually being found out (not that blogging is anything illicit or shameful!) are pretty slim, and I’m really enjoying talking to and building up a network of online friends.

I’ve got a couple of pieces of content in the pipeline, including a look at how I’m getting on with my 30 goals to achieve before I’m 30, as well as a guide on asking for a raise at work.

I’d also like to do some restaurant/bar reviews, as I love going out to eat and drink

Please let me know if there’s anything that you guys would like to read. I write a lot in my day job, and studied English Literature as my degree, but I’m wanting to push myself by branching out to topics and forms of writing that I wouldn’t usually cover!

Thank you for keeping up (and occasionally bearing with)…

Much love,
G x

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Hello 2020

I’ve been waiting for you.

There’s always something really satisfying about a new year, even more so when it’s a new decade. I spent last night with some lovely friends and my amazing boyfriend, nursing a hangover today even though I was the first one to go to bed!

The house is tidy, the fridge is cleared, I’m almost ready for work tomorrow.

I’m planning on spending the rest of my evening having a long bath, changing my bed sheets and packing my bag for the morning. Start as you mean to go on.

Happy New Year everyone, I’m looking forward to the adventures that the year ahead holds – both on and off this blog!

What are you most looking forward to in 2020?

Much love, speak soon.

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Three quick tips to help you support your friends with anxiety

I’ve suffered with anxiety for a long time, certainly a lot longer than I’d initially realised. When I first got my diagnosis, I started attending Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) where my therapist kindly explained to me that it’s not normal to dissect each thing you said in a conversation, using it to prove to yourself that the person you were speaking to actually hates you.

This was all a bit of a shock to me, I thought that everyone had the same thought patterns as I did, that everyone stayed up every night worrying about hypothetical situations that had approximately a 2% chance of ever happening.

Since receiving my diagnosis five or-so years ago, I’ve occasionally lent on friends for their support. Most have been amazing, a couple have been less-so, but each experience has taught me something about dealing with people who find themselves in my situation, enabling me to become a better friend as a result.

  1. Listen

It might sound simple, but very few people listen as well as they think they do. If your friend is starting to spiral, be that physically exhibiting signs of panic or being clearly distracted and distressed by something, make sure you are paying attention to the cues they give off. Ask them if they’re okay being touched, if it’s something they feel comfortable talking about, or whether they’d like you to simply sit in silence with them until it passes. Every anxiety sufferer is different, so don’t assume that what works for one person is going to work for another.

2. Don’t make it about you

This is probably going to sound harsh, but sadly it happens pretty often. You know how it goes: a friend is struggling with their anxiety in one form or another, and another friend – perhaps with the best intentions in the world – relates the current situation to one that they have experienced in the past. This isn’t to say that your experience isn’t valid, just that more often than not, adding your personal experience into the mix seldom helps matters. There are many times of day in which your anecdotes are important and valued: the time that someone is in the throes of an anxiety episode, is not one of them.

3. Don’t beat yourself up

Sometimes there’s only so much that you can do. You can let someone pour their heart out, stay up with them all night, let them cry until neither of you can cry any more, ultimately, people cannot fix other people. People can only fix themselves. Don’t feel as though you are a terrible friend for not knowing how to support someone. From experience, they may not remember the all things that you said to them, but they will remember that you were there. That’s the important thing.

Thank you for reading my first proper blog post. If you have any further tips to add, please leave a comment below.

Much love

G xx

Quitting smoking: my journey so far

One of my new year’s resolutions is to finally quit smoking.

I’ve been smoking since I was about 16, I’m in my twenties now, so it’s been far too long.

I smoke daily, but not heavily (not when I’m sober anyway), but I’m just fed up with it now. Not only am I sick of smelling and permanently having a sore throat, but smoking is so bloody expensive!

My quitting journey started on Monday evening of this week. I smoked the last cigarette in my packet, downloaded the Quit Smoking app (not sponsored, I’m just genuinely a bit obsessed with it) and prepared to leave the fags forever.

I made it almost two full days before I caved.

Two days is probably the longest I’ve gone without smoking since I picked it up, so there’s some progress there, but I’m still really mad at myself for giving in and smoking.

On the bright side, I didn’t even really enjoy my cigarette because I felt so guilty for not sticking with it. I also realised that alcohol is a massive trigger for my cravings, so I need to learn to be more vigilant about this when I’m drinking.

I started trying to quit again yesterday evening. It’s coming up to 24 hours of being smoke free now and I’m still hanging on.

Tomorrow evening will be a struggle, as I’m going for drinks with a friend who is a heavy smoker, but I’m really hoping that I can stay strong.

The Quit Smoking app has been a massive help. Not only does it give you information on the health benefits that you receive, and how these increase the longer you don’t smoke, but it also calculates how much money you’re saving, which is definitely a big motivation for me!

I’ll keep you updated on my journey. I’m hoping that it will become a lot easier once this first week is over.

Wish me luck!

Falling out of love with Birchbox

I’ve been subscribed to Birchbox for about 5 months now.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the novelty of receiving a package at the beginning of every month. It’s been great for introducing me to some new brands (Sand & Sky, Caudalie) and for reminding me how much I love some brands that I was already acquainted with (Rituals, ThisWorks).

However, I definitely still have my gripes with it. From weird themes (Frozen 2, really?!) to a crappy product range (how many body lotions can one girl need), there are definitely some inconsistencies month on month.

Take this month’s box, it delivered a couple of highs, but there were even more lows.

The highs

  1. The box is pretty. This might sound like I’m scrabbling for positives, but Birchboxes can be reused in some really imaginative and aesthetically pleasing ways.
  2. The jade roller – by far the highlight of the month. I’ve wanted to buy myself one of these for a while now, but always held off, feeling that they were too gimmicky to justify the price point. I’ve been sat at my desk using it all day, I love it.
  3. The highlighter. Not only was it packaged adorably, but I’ve never heard of The Beauty Crop before. I’m really excited to try this out, as I much prefer liquid highlighters to powder ones.

The mehs

  1. The exfoliator. I can understand why people would like this. It smelled good, went on smoothly and felt like it did the job, just for me it was far too grainy. I like skincare to be a relaxing experience and this felt like I was rubbing sand all over my face. Because it was so granulated as well, it was an absolute pain to wash off.

The lows

  1. I received ANOTHER body lotion. Not only do Birchbox seem to send one out every month, it’s January. No doubt most people have been inundated with cheap toiletry sets, each one of these containing another body lotion to use up.
  2. The conditioner. It was… fine. My hair’s generally pretty dry, so I like to try out new conditioners. However, it’s also pretty thick, meaning that the tiny tube I was provided with was barely enough for one wash.
  3. The collab… I was baffled by the Frozen 2 collaboration and I’m equally baffled by the Rochelle Humes collaboration. Granted, I don’t follow her very closely, but is she known for her beauty picks? Someone fill me in.

This is the second time in my five-month Birchbox tenure that I’ve been left disappointed, so I’m thinking it might be time to move on. I really like the experience of subscription boxes, especially as I sometimes struggle to be adventurous with new brands and products, but I think our love affair might have burned out.

Have you tried any subscription boxes? What did you think? Let me know!

Much love,

G x

Pic Cred: @_jamespatrickmarch on Instagram.

 

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On fighting with my best friend

I fought with my best friend this morning. We live together, so you know, there is a lot more potential for arguments than there would be otherwise.

A lot of it was my fault, but I’m weirdly glad for that. I am awful with confrontation, but this was a useful one – it showed me some places where I need to work on myself.

Namely, I need to make sure I’m giving back as much as I think I am. Sometimes I feel as though I am doing something for something else, but really it’s mostly for me. I struggle to register this at the time, but I need to make sure I’m being more present about my actions.

When I last lived with people who weren’t my family, it was in a group of six, meaning that there was always someone around, but I could also have my own space whenever I wanted.

This was great, but it also made me complacent. Living with someone is a two-way street, and sometimes this has slipped my notice while we’ve been co-habiting.

It was a really hard conversation, resulting in me almost having a panic attack, but it needed to be done. I’m really glad it happened.

Even though I currently feel guilty and horrible and mixed-up, I also feel empowered to make a change. All relationships require effort, even those that are normally effortless.

I love my best friend to pieces, but I haven’t made her feel like that recently.

We’ve both done things which have made us bad friends recently, but I didn’t realise how much it was hurting both of us until we spoke.

One really difficult phone call has given me a kick up the arse to do better, make more effort, think more closely and speak up more when something is bothering me.

If there was ever a time to have a huge blow-out, it’s at the beginning of a New Year.

Here’s to being better in 2020.

G x

 

 

Reflecting on 2019's resolutions

I tend to to this at the end of every year, just to hold myself to account, reflect on the year behind me and think forward to the year ahead.

It was a year of change for me, I moved out into my own house for the first time, graduated from my MA and started a full-time job in the creative industries. I also broke up with my ex of three and a half years, which was tricky to do at the time, but was ultimately the best decision.

So, here we go. How did I do?

PSA: This post reads as pretty self-indulgent, I promise that future posts will not be in this vein!

Resolution number one: get back into going to the gym more than once a week.

This didn’t go quite as planned… I was very good at the first half of the year, going bouldering regularly as well as doing my gym sessions. However, when I moved house in September, my bouldering gym was no longer on my route home, nor was there an affordable gym nearby my house. I’ve recently started doing at-home pilates, but it doesn’t really have the same effect. Must try harder.

Resolution number two: read one book for fun during the week.

I was still studying when I set this resolution, hence the emphasis on reading for fun. I’m a big reader, so I think I pretty much nailed this one. In June, I set up a Goodreads account and since then have read 29 books, so taking this over the course of the year, I’d say it was a success.

Resolution number three: get a good mark in my Master’s.

I said at the beginning of 2019 that I didn’t want to put a grade on my Master’s, but that I wanted the end result to reflect the effort I had put in. I just about scraped a Distinction which, considering I was working a full-time and a part-time job while I was writing my thesis, I was over the moon to have achieved this.

Resolution number four: get a graduate job in a career that I like.

This was the biggie for me. I wanted to move out of my parents’ house this year, so needed to have a stable income that would allow me to do so. After a few months of job searching, I secured a job in the creative industries. It was a role that I didn’t know much about prior to my job search, but I’m about six months in now and I’m really enjoying it! My colleagues are lovely and have taught me so much so far, I’m looking forward to seeing how the next year goes.

Resolution number five: move to London

This was a complete fail. But I think it’s good to include it because people’s priorities can change so much over the course of a year. I was initially really inclined to move to London because it’s where my boyfriend at the time lives and also where a lot of my University friends live. However, once we broke up and I realised how little money I would be living on should I go there, I was quite content to continue my life in the North. So this wasn’t a win, but not a huge fail either as I think I’m so much happier where I am than where I would have been.

To conclude…

I managed to stick to 3/5 of these, so I’d give myself about a B- on this one. I definitely need to work on consciously exercising, weaving it into my everyday routine, rather than making excuses for it.

Alongside this, my resolutions for next year will be keeping up with reading, finally quitting smoking (awful habit, I know), receiving a payrise at work and fitting in some more travelling. I’ll update you this time next year on how I get on!

Much love
G x

Why lifestyle bloggers make me feel inadequate

I watch a fair amount of Youtube in my downtime. I particularly like watching vloggers who discuss themes such as productivity, positive mindsets, healthy lifestyle and sustainability.

While I admire a lot of these people, particularly those who either study or work full-time jobs alongside managing their Youtube channels, it gets to a point where I just think… is that really your life?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mad at anyone for wanting to make the most of their life. If you want to get up at 5am to work on a side hustle, or spend your evenings after work at networking events aimed at other creatives, that’s absolutely fine by me.

What grates on me a little, however, is the blatantly manufactured nature of some of these ‘lifestyles’ that are on display. I understand that there’s a necessary level of performativity when it comes to Youtube/Instagram/any social media outlet, but sometimes watching a ‘week in the life’ vlog (or the equivalent), just makes me feel as though nobody can possibly be THAT bland.

The pressure to be constantly presenting a perfect, wholesome and productive life can sometimes have the effect of isolating a given influencers’ audience. Where is the footage of the night that you had a few too many drinks and made a dick of yourself? Can’t you tell us about the time you accidentally left your washing in the machine for two days and it came out all mouldy and gross? What about when you accidentally said ‘love you’ instead of ‘lovely to meet you’ to a client and had to hide in the toilets for a good five minutes?

What I want to see is more people trying, in all of its forms – the good, the bad and especially the ugly.

I don’t buy for a second that you go to bed at 9pm each evening, eyemask on, body perfectly relaxed from two hours of yoga, falling into a soundless sleep until 6am the next day.

I want to see messiness, I want to see mistakes, I want to see second, third or even fourth attempts at achieving a goal. I want to see personal growth in the jagged way that it actually occurs, rather than the illusion of an effortless, linear, faultless form of “progress”.

If you do know any influencers who aren’t afraid to show themselves in all of their complexity, please give me your recommendations below. I’m sick of feeling inadequate for my inability to act like a robot.

Much love
G xx

What am I doing here?

Otherwise known as: Why am I blogging?

It could be the masses of Christmas presents that I have yet to wrap, it could be that my job gives me little creative fulfilment, or it could even be that I’ve been guilty at reading blogs in the past and thinking “I could do that”.

So I’m calling myself out on my own arrogance, if I think that I can do this, then why don’t I just do it?

I’m not entirely sure what form this blog will take. It could be personal reflection, lifestyle advice, food recommendations or simply listicles. All I know is that I’m challenging myself to actually stick with it.

So, by way of introduction: hello!

I’m G, a 20-something living in the north of England. Having finished university education around a year ago, I now work in the (not-so) creative industries.

Currently I feel like I sit in that weird space between adolescent and adult, that perhaps you don’t grow out of until you become a parent yourself. I work full-time and live on my own, yet still manage to ruin my own life nearly every weekend, as I’m sure will become apparent…

I’ll be uploading some blog content, particularly over the festive period when I’m off work and feeling very ‘inspired’ by a large glass of Sauvignon.

I’d love to know what kind of content you’d like to read, especially as the bloggersphere can be a very saturated content marketplace at the moment.

Let me know in the comments below. Until next time

G xx

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