Saturday, 17 December 2016

Saying Goodbye...

It seems strange to be writing a blog now, as I explain why I'm closing down my blog and it's only going to be deleted when my domain disappears on the 22nd December and I don't actually think I have many followers anymore...



But I shall go on, for the one or two people who stumble back over here in the vain hope I might have written something decent for once, or even at all! It's true, my writing has dwindled, and the subject matter has been rather odd - usually me moaning about how I haven't written in so long and how crummy I feel, yadda, yadda, yadda... I used to feel that writing a blog was cathartic, that it held me accountable for the things I said I was going to do, and that I could find people who would relate to me and my feelings, but as time has gone on, the feeling that I should write something "interesting" has intensified, and I'll be honest, I don't think anyone finds anything I have to say on the internet very interesting at all!

My job involves writing content and blog posts for small businesses - not PR campaigns, I might add, more like news about their business and informative posts about their services - and I feel that maybe because I'm not working on creative campaigns or throwing myself into the blogosphere that I might have lost my confidence when it comes to writing for myself. I don't want to blog for the sake of blogging, and I don't feel like I have the time or patience to improve things like my theme, photos or layout. Which is sad, because I would love to have a beautiful blog like many people out there, but right now the thought of taking on a new project both scares and overwhelms me.



Because you see, I already have a project on the go. I started attending a creative writing class back in March with my Dad when he retired, and just going there seems to have ignited something in me, reminded me of the goals I had when I was much younger. I have always wanted to be a writer. It's appeared in many different forms, first a journalist, then a PR, then a blogger, then a copywriter, but always in the back of my mind, I've dreamt of writing a novel. I aspire to be as good or successful an author as Marian Keyes, Cecelia Ahern, Ben Elton, Sophie Kinsella, Jenny Colgan, JK Rowling... and so on. My taste in literature is mostly chick-lit and I wholeheartedly don't think there's anything wrong with that. I like books I can relate to, characters I love and plots which make me cry. I would read and read for hours on end and I can finish a book and think to myself "I would love to make someone feel the way I do now."

I have started a book... I don't know if I'm going to stick with the storyline, as I've already started tweaking things in my head, but I know that I want to finish it. And I want to find out if I have the potential to be as good as those authors I know and love, and plenty I have yet to discover. But for now, I will continue to work on it and hopefully create something I can treasure for the rest of my life.



Right now, blogging doesn't fit into my life in any which way I look at it. I love reading other people's blogs, keeping up to date with everything that happens, and please do know that I will still be there, lurking around your blogs and dropping comments where appropriate! I feel a tiny bit sad that I'm giving up my blog, because there have been some posts which were really successful for me, and I have had some great opportunities to take part in some fantastic events, such as the Cancer Research Winter Run and the Major Series - but I don't enjoy it anymore.

I want to look after myself, and the blogging feels like an added pressure right now. I have looked back and thought; maybe if I had done more, maybe if I had built a bigger following, maybe if I had learnt to properly build and install a decent bloody template, maybe if I had started on WordPress instead of blogger... Maybe then I would have been more successful and reaped more reward for my blog. Oh I don't know, maybe I'm just lazy and my blog was always doomed for failure!



Whatever it is, I want to say that I have enjoyed plenty of things about blogging; the people who bothered to read my blog, the ones who shared it, the whole inspiring community I have discovered but only ever kept close to the edges of, and also the PRs who invited me along to some great events I never would have been part of if it wasn't for this blog.

If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. And thank you for thinking I had something interesting to say! Hopefully I will find my niche and I will eventually succeed - who knows, maybe I will be back with a brand new blog to promote my sparkling career as a bestselling author!

Good luck to you all and I hope you continue to follow your dreams, whatever they might be.


Friday, 9 September 2016

Bad Blogger Babbling

Yep, that's me! Terrible.

I've neglected my emails, disappeared from Twitter and completed ignored my blog. Why? Because I have been unbelievably busy. I mentioned in a previous post how I only seem to blog when I am feeling a bit down in the dumps, but literally every weekend recently has been chock full of activities with friends and it's been bloody fantastic.

I'm actually procrastinating right now, because I actually have another project I'm supposed to be working on, but I currently don't have the mindspace for it - anybody got any tips for that? Believe it or not, I'm hoping that this project is going to change my life for the better, and give me a whole lot more peace and a lot less anxiety.

Actually, whilst I'm on the subject of anxiety, I'd like to ask a question - when you say you don't want to do something because it makes you feel anxious, why are there so many people in the world who don't think that is a valid excuse?!

Anxiety is horrible and I know a lot of my friends feel the same way I do about particular situations, whether that's going to a friend of a friend's house, going into town, or knowing when to leave a situation, so I think nothing of it when a conversation is cut short, or they turn around and say "I don't want to do that."

There's no need to ask why, or persuade them otherwise - because that just makes things worse. I recently had a situation where I said I don't want to camp in a tent at a festival for two nights because I don't like slumming it and not knowing the state of the toilets, or if there's any loo roll or leaky tents or brushing your teeth without a sink just fills me with dread and it makes me never want to leave my lovely warm house with heating and sofas and electricity and a kettle...


Anyway, they just didn't get why I felt that way, and didn't understand why I couldn't shake the worry that the toilets were going to be unusable (like the last time we went camping and I was in tears because all the portaloos were blocked, covered in mud and other muck, and I couldn't just "go in a bush") ... but anxiety is real and it's horrible and nobody should have to make up excuses about it.

For anyone's reference, when having a conversation with an anxious person who doesn't want to make plans, it should go like this:

You: "Hey let's go to that party my sister's friend is having this weekend!"
Friend: "I'm okay thanks, I don't really fancy it."
You: "How come?"
Friend: "Crowds and loud music make me anxious, but I hope you have a good time!"
You: "Oh no problem. Let's make plans another time, you choose the time and place if you want?"

Literally, it's that simple. The conversation should NOT go like this:

You: "Hey let's go to that party my sister's friend is having this weekend!"
Friend: "I'm okay thanks, I don't really fancy it."
You: "No, you HAVE to come,  my sister loves you!"
Friend: "No really, I won't know anyone, it makes me anxious."
You: "Ah you'll be fine, I'll be there and you know my sister and I'll introduce you to Joe Bloggs. There's a BBQ and I already said you'd go anyway."
Friend: "Yeah no sorry I can't make it - just remembered I'm babysitting my neighbours cat that night, but have a good time anyway!"
*Friend then steals neighbours cat for the night in case someone pops round and the lie is revealed - extra points for Instagram pics with the cat*


Seriously, if somebody says they don't want to do something because it makes them anxious - just don't push it. It makes things worse. Also, don't do things last minute - we need time to mentally prepare for shit. Don't just turn up on my doorstep because I will probably be socially awkward, inviting you in then making you feel unwelcome because you're in my space and I'm not okay with it.

Phewww, glad I got that off my chest! But on the other hand, there are some ways to deal with anxiety when you're thrown into a situation you're not happy about, and these are my top three:

1. Tell someone you trust and get them to help you make a plan/excuse to leave.
2. Deep breathing, glass of water and smile, smile, smile - at some point smiling will turn into talking and you'll soon stop overthinking the situation and settle down.
3. Leave. The taxi can stop at a cash machine if you've no money on you, or you can get a bus or you can walk or you can even ring your mum.

So anyway, now I've loosened up for the evening, I think I can crack on with a few other blog posts, and stop neglecting it!

Please also feel free to discuss your experiences with anxiety in the comments below - I'm no expert but it's nice to know you're not on your own sometimes.


Sunday, 5 June 2016

Proactiv+

A while ago, I was sent some Proactiv+ products to trial for 8 weeks. I'm probably one of the worst for skincare, I tend to take my make up off with a baby wipe at the end of the day - and sometimes I don't bother at all!

I had a bit of a rocky start to the year, and the stress was showing on my skin! I had exploded in spots which weren't going away, no matter what. So when I was offered some Proactiv+ products, I jumped at the chance.

We've all seen those adverts with Nicole Scherzinger, Adam Levine and Katy Perry - big budget celebs who claim to have horrific skin problems which have been solved by Proactive. Whether it works or not is up to us to find out!

The products I was sent was your basic cleanse, tone and moisturise regime - with an exfoliating face mask thrown in for when your face is feeling particularly crap. I was given an 8-week trial to ensure my skin had time to adapt to its new regime!

Step 1: Cleanse
The cleanser was really pleasant to use, and the directions were pretty clear. "Use a coin sized amount and rub into skin using fingertips." I know there's a good range of coin sizes, but it isnt exactly going to be a 5p coin, is it? So I went for a 50p size, but soon found that was too much, so reduced it down to 10p. The product felt great on my skin, the exfoliating beads small and not too harsh - but tough enough to feel like my face was being scrubbed clean!

Step 2: Tone
I LOOOOOOOOOVED the toner. It felt amazing and left my skin feeling refreshed. Again, instructions were clear, "use a pearl size amount and rub on clean, dry skin". My only problem with this is that it's alcohol-based, which I have read is something to avoid. But I'm no beauty expert and my skin felt bloody fabulous after it.

Step 3: Moisturise
This is the one product I took an immediate dislike to. I couldn't get the amount right, and no matter how much I used, it seemed to go on really thick, and then as I put make up on over it, it clumped up - kind of like when you're rubbing a label off something using water. Or when you've had suncream on and been all sweaty and you get horrible little rolls of dirt and skin.

But, it may have been my dry skin. Every beautician I have seen has said I have dry skin, but after using Proactiv+ for a while, it seemed to stop doing this, and I don't think it's as dry anymore.

I stopped using Proactiv+ a few weeks ago, because I got lazy and fell out of habit (I know, I'm an awful human being), but it was a great product and I really enjoyed using it. And of course, the moment you've all been waiting for.. the before and after! Please bear in mind that in the after picture, whilst I do have mascara and eyeliner on - I'm not wearing foundation. I never do when my skin is clear and you can truly see the difference! (With a few extra freckles because it's now the British summer and I've been soaking up the sun as much as possible.)


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Mindset Matters

How many times have you ready my blog and I've mentioned how disappointed in myself I am? How many times have I set myself goals and given up on them? I swear it's too many to count.

I ran the Manchester 10k today and was aiming to stay under 1 hour. I ran most of the time, not slowing for longer than 30 seconds at a time, and felt strong and crossed the finish line thinking that I was close, but I'd made it... Unfortunately not. I finished in 1:03! And my first reaction was disappointment and annoyance, but after stewing for a bit, realised that I hadn't trained at all. Other people had trained loads and got similar times to me. I'm still fit and healthy - I ran that 10k BECAUSE I CAN.


I CAN DO ANYTHING. I can walk and I can run and I can write and I can talk - basic things we take for granted but shouldn't.

I'm talking about this because I'm the type of person who will focus on the negatives and forget about the positives. The 10k is just the start this year. I'm going back to yoga and trying a new fitness DVD and I'm going to start walking/running to work now the weather is nice. I think having all these goals and shouting about them mean that I'm in a much better position where I would ever be if I had never even tried.

I know I keep setting goals and not hitting them, and forgetting about them but if I'd never started trying in the first place then I would probably be 15 stone and skint and thinking that I could never run a 10k. I forget how far I've actually come. In University I was overweight and lazy and I was in a very unhappy place - since then I have lost 2 stone (it was 3 but I gained one back) and I'm much much happier.

I CAN I CAN I CAN I CAN! I can lose weight and I can eat well and I can find the time to become the best version of myself!

I feel pretty on top of the world. Funny what exercise-induced endorphins can do.