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Monday, 11 March 2019

On Writing Poetry.



If you follow me on Instagram, you may know I write poetry, which I used to post. Somewhere along the lines, imposter syndrome hit, and I became embarrassed of that vulnerability, so I deleted it from my feed, and like that, it went back to being my secret habit.

It's something which carries both shame and pride for me. It's often a source of insecurity, it feels like an uncool hobby, and the writing tends to be about my feelings, which although they matter, it can be pretty intense to be so raw with them. It feels cringe.

I've always loved writing poetry, despite never being particularly talented at it. I'm an over-thinker, an avid reader and a diary keeper, writing it feels natural, it slots into who I am.

I remember writing a poem with my auntie and uncle when I was younger, I think for a school project and enjoying playing with the words, laughing with them as we tried to create rhymes, and rearranged words. I remember the pride a felt when I figured the combination of those words which worked the best.

I wrote a  poem in primary school which got published in a local church book, and that was the first time I'd done something which had got recognised. I was so proud.

Once I made a tumblr, with the username Iwillbecomeawriter, where I posted poetry, but soon deleted it due to insecurity.

There have been times my head has felt like it's exploding and my heart breaking, and finding a tangible, maybe beautiful way to put that on to paper, made it easier to cope. Despite being dreadful at spelling, I don't remember a time I wasn't fascinated with words and how we string them together. How they can carry weight and how the right combination of them, can make a person feel. Words can evoke emotion which you didn't even know was there.


I'm usually quite a closed person. I'm introverted, shy and I struggle to talk out loud about my feelings, it's not how I communicate, speaking doesn't always work for me, I stutter, and hold back, sometimes I simply can't seem to make the words move from my mind to something which comes out of my mouth. But writing down nonsense, and trying to make it something, trying to untangle how I feel amongst the words, that's what works for me.

I don't think I'm good at writing, but I long to be. I'm a great believer in practice so each day this month I'm writing a poem, whether I feel like it or not, and I'm posting it to this Instagram, whether I think it's good or not because I want to push myself. I want to teach myself to be better with words, I want to have the ability to make people feel, and I want to take in all that I feel.

It's cringe for sure, it's embarrassing, writing poetry. But some pretty cool people do it too, and I've felt nothing for than admiration for those people. Plus I'd be doing it whether I shared it or not, so it's about time I rediscovered that pride I had as a child when my poetry was published for others to see.



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Monday, 4 March 2019

Realistic March Goals.


As February draws to a close, I'm beginning to realise the goals I so enthusiastically wrote out in my bullet journal 28 days ago, we're not achieved, not one of them. I could reel off a million excuses, but that won't achieve those goals so I won't bother.

The goals I set were unrealistic, I set myself up for too much of a challenge, so instead of working towards them, I ignored them, and therefore achieved even less than I would have without the goals in place. It was counterproductive, to say the least.

So as March hits I'm trying to set more achievable goals, the kind that I can clearly tick off, and depend only on my own action - no more I'll reach... Instagram followers etc, because that is not as in my control as I'd like it to be.

So here they are, realistic March goals

- Write a poem a day, post it to my poetry Instagram account (if you want the link, let me know)

- Paint/draw at least once a week. I'm trying to get back into creating art, once a week is manageable whilst ensure it becomes a regular habit, plus there's nothing stopping me doing it more often.

- Meditate daily.

- Read 4+ new articles a week

- Read daily

- Send minimum 1 pitch a week. Hopefully more.

- Reach 60,000 words on the book I'm writing (as I write this, I have 11,398 words to go)
- Be active on social media, use it to network and share, send time each day posting on Instagram, replying to tweets and commenting on the Youtube videos I enjoy.

- Stay positive. okay so this one is not so trackable, but it's important.




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Friday, 1 March 2019

February Round Up and Iphone Photos.



What I've Been Up To:


- Drinks with Kelsey: Myself and my friend Kelsey went for coffee one Friday afternoon, and after chatting about evverrrything over a latte, we decided to switch to wine and I found myself getting home at feeling a bit tipsy at 3am, and in the best mood.

- A Sunday walk and roast with friends: A tradition I have with some of my friends going for a pub roast and a walk through nature on the occasional Sunday. So this month we went to Woodchester park for our walk and it was wonderful.

- Valentines Day of Self Care: Being single on Valentine's day, I didn't do anything too exciting, but I did make the decision to have a lovely day nonetheless. I vlogged it which you can find here.

- Pinterest: This probably seems like a bit of a random thing to go on the list, but this month I've got so into Pinterest that I wanted to include it. If you're also a Pinterest lover, you can follow me here.

- Craigs Birthday Night: It was my friend Craigs birthday, so we went for drinks to celebrate. It was so much fun while I was there, but sadly, I was feeling slightly poorly, so I had to leave pretty early.


Watching:


The O.C: Yes, this is the first time I'm watching The O.C, so I'm pretty late to the party. I'm up to the start of season 4 (which is a bit like WTF so far). I like the series, but I don't love it, I'm definitely enjoying it enough that I've completely binged the first three seasons, but I feel it had the potential to be better, however, this opinion is based on going into the series with such high expectations.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life: On the second time watching A Year in the Life, I'm still unsure how I feel about it. There are parts of it I found disappointing and parts I found brilliant.

Listening:


- Gilmore Guys (I'm finally coming to end of it now)
- CTRL ALT Delete with Sara Tasker
- The Sunday Salon with Charly Cox


Reading:


Books:
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. It's taking me a while to read this, because (unpopular opinion) so far I don't love it.

Articles/Newsletters:
Conversation on Love, Natasha Lunn Interviews Ariel Levy
Lucy Sheridan Newsletter on Comparison
Dolly Alderton Pens A Love Letter to Cigarettes as She Give Up Smoking
I Found Out The Guy I Was Dating Did It for a Dare

Blogs:
Fashion and Frappes: How Can I Be A Fashion Blogger Without Fast Fashion
Overdosed on Caffeine: Dear Men, I'm Not Interest in Your Penis
The Anna Edit: Red Lips
Wish Wish Wish: Marriage Three Years On
Hello October: A Fresh Start
Hello October: Love or Loneliness


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Monday, 25 February 2019

Little New Starts | Get Out Of The Woods.




 Recently I made this video on how it's never too late to start againIn the video (at bottom of post), I discuss how something small can be your new start. I think sometimes the small things matter more than we give them credit for, and when we put all of the small things altogether, they can result in something much bigger. It can be the tiniest moments which get us through the day-to-day. Small new starts are less intimidating, they are manageable and taking the small steps moves us closer to bigger things.

A few nights ago when I went to bed I felt like my world was falling down. Everything was crumbling and crashing to the ground, and there was nothing I could do to save it because I too was crumbling. The next morning, I woke up, ready to take those pieces and sellotape them back together. It's time to rebuild what I thought was broken.


So after hiding out in my bed for days, binging The O.C, and chasing my emotions in a circle of sadness, guilt and disappointment, I decided it was time to drag myself out of bed and face the world which I'd been attempting to ignore. I started taking the small steps to start again.


If like I did, you need that new start, here are some of the little things I'd recommend doing:

- Have a cup of tea. Tea usually helps.

- Shower. Somehow, it changes everything.

- Create a vision board, or revise the one of you've got (full video on that here)

- Get out of the house. It's easy to become a willing prisoner in your own home when really some fresh air and new surroundings will do you a world of good.

- See or talk to a friend. I went for a coffee with my friend and remembered what it is to laugh again.

- Exercise. Go for a run, do some yoga, or maybe just have a good stretch. Move your body.

- Meditate (I've got a full blog post on meditation apps here), because mind workouts matter too.

- Spend some time organising. I got out my bullet journal and started planning future blog posts and writing projects

- Write a list of things you're grateful for. There's always more than you can imagine which should make the list.

- Write a list of things you're proud of. Remind yourself of how far you've come (it's further than you think).

- Make some future plans,  give yourself something to be excited by.

- Decide where you want to be, plan your next step. Just do something towards it, no matter how small. Spend 10 minutes minimum working on it. Something is always better than nothing, and as soon as you start something, it's easier to get going.

- Change your bedding.

There are a million ways to start again, big and small, you just have to decide to do it. It's time to make your way out of the woods.



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Friday, 22 February 2019

4 Meditation Apps


Something I've begun to integrate into my daily life is meditation. It is helping me learn how to manage my feelings, become more mindful, and calms my nerves. As it's such an important part of my life, I thought I would share my favourite meditation apps, and their pros and cons to help anybody who fancies giving it a try


Headspace


Headspace was the first meditation app I ever used and where I learned the basics of meditation. The meditations are all guided by Andy, whose voice you soon become familiar with. The app is great for learning about why meditation is important, and to help you understand how your mind works. There are instructive animations which make the process of meditation and it's importance easy to understand.

There is the option of different courses on this app, from Reframing Loneliness, Creativity, Managing Anxiety and more. The courses tend to have 10, 10-20 minute meditations to complete over 10 days. There is also the option to do the meditations or view the animations as one-offs.

There is a sleep section of the app, with different sleep sounds, and meditations to wind down before sleep.

You can also add buddies and track your progress.

A lot of the features are available for free, however, to unlock all of the meditations you can either pay £74.99 per year, £9.99 weekly, or £399.99 for a lifetime.

This app has a friendly feeling to it, it's inviting and easy to use.



Happy, Not Perfect

Happy, Not Perfect is my current favourite meditation app. I find the graphics across this app are aesthetically very pleasing, which just make it nice to click on, and inviting to explore. 
Alongside the meditation tool, there is also the option to do a mind 'work out', which contain 7 steps to help manage your thoughts and feelings. Some steps in the work out include keeping a gratitude journal, writing down what is bothering you, playing a soothing game, a quick meditation and more. It doesn't take long, which makes it very easy to integrate into day to day life.

There are many different meditations featured including sleep well, break up S.O.S, crush comparison and more. The meditations have many different guides who are experts on the topics (you can also read more about the guides on the app). The meditations themselves last different amounts of time, so you can choose what will fit best into your schedule. You can 'heart' your favourite meditations to make them easy to find again.

There are also many other tools, such as some games which are good for the mind and the option to send good vibes. 

To unlock all of the meditations and features it's £52.99 per year.




Stop, Breathe, Think.



I mainly use this Stop, Breathe, Think when I've not got much time as there are tonnes of great 1 minute meditations.  On many of the meditations, it gives you the option to choose which voice you'd rather hear it in and there is often the option of longer or shorter versions of the meditations. The app asks you how you're are feeling both mentally and physically, and recommends several meditations based on this. I've always found the recommendations to be suitable, and it saves the hassle of scrolling, wondering what would be best. You can then record how you are feeling post-meditation so you can see the impact of the practice. There is also the explore option if you wish to choose your own meditation. The meditations are sorted into sections including One Minute, Fresh Start Challenge, Heal and Forgive, Pregnancy and more. I find this app has fewer features than the others, there isn't much beyond the meditation feature and the tracking of your feelings and meditation habits. You can also earn stickers which encourage you to meditate more often. To unlock all of the meditations on this app it's £54.99 per year or £9.99 a month.



Calm

I'll be honest, this is the only app I've included which I don't regularly use. The main reason I don't use Calm all that much as there aren't very many features available on the unpaid version of the app. 

I really love how this app looks, it feels as though it transports you to a whole different place. There is also the option to change the background scene and sound effect which comes with it if you wish, personally, I'm happy with the mountain scene and sound of the water. 

Alongside meditation on this app, there are tabs for sleep and music. Under the sleep tab, there are tonnes of sleep stories told by different narrators. There are stories such as The Velveteen Rabbit and The Little Mermaid or soundscapes such as Symphony of Rain. The story narrators include Stephen Fry, Matthew McConaughey, Leona Lewis and more. 

The meditation section of the app contains many 7 day courses, such as  7 days for Calming Anxiety, and 7 Days of Happiness.

The meditations are sorted into categories such as Beginners, Less Guidance, Relationships and Personal Growth to make it easier to find what will work for you at the time. There is also the option to heart your favourite meditations, and have them appear in a 'liked' sections so they're easy to find. 

The music tab of this app contains different types of relaxing music and soundscapes, such as Piano Healing and Great Ocean. Again it's sorted into categories to help find what is right for you at the time. The categories include Nature Melodies, Focus, Lullabies and more.

The app cost £34.99 per year to unlock all of the features.


 I hope this was useful! Please let me know if you've used any of these apps before and how you got on with them!

Love C x

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Monday, 18 February 2019

A New Outlook on Love.




In my 27 years, I've been in one long term romantic relationship. Aside from those 2 and a half years, I've taken on the role of the single friend amongst the couples. I'm the one who likes to shout that she doesn't need a man. For someone with an obsession with love, I've been pretty cynical about it, with my feet firmly planted in the ground of I'm not going to be sad about being single, and I'd rather be alone than with somebody because I'm lonely. In other words, my attitude completely took dating off the cards. I didn't want to be somebody who relied on a relationship for happiness. I guess I didn't feel that spending the majority of my life single was evidence enough to prove I'm not reliant on relationship hopping. The thought of romance left a bitter taste in my mouth, and for someone who reads a lot of romance novels, and watches endless romcoms, I wouldn't allow for my own love stories.

I'd written a narrative for myself which ultimately left me alone because I somehow got the impression there's was a weakness in wanting to spend your life with another person. And this rule I made up, applied to nobody other than myself. I didn't think badly of friends in relationships, although occasionally I might feel a little jealous pop-up. I didn't judge people based on their partner and they didn't lose their personality or become half of a person when they were coupled up.


Something has switched in my mind recently; I realised the way I've been looking at love is ensuring I'm alone through fear. A fear that dating will impact who I am, that I'll become weakened if I'm open to feeling.

It's time I go back, erase some of what I decided, and brave being open to romance. Nobody actually wants to go to bed alone, and people seem to glow when they fall in love. I miss the childlike butterflies of first kisses and the possibilities of where another person can take you.

When two people are in love, they don't take from each other, they compliment each other, enhance their lives.

I might not find the love of my life anytime soon, but I think it's time I drew in my claws and realised there's no weakness in wanting more, in wanting somebody. And if it all goes to shit, maybe I'll end up with some funny date anecdotes along the way.

I don't think lesser of people who are in love. Relationships are hard, it takes growth, self-awareness and compromise to keep them afloat. Those are qualities to be admired rather than afraid of.





I read this poem, and I haven't stopped wondering what it must feel like, to know, to have that security, that the one person you want to see, no matter what, who will be there when you get home.

I guess, I wouldn't say no to that.

I'm learning that, craving intimacy doesn't make me weak. It makes me human.


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