A Pre-40th Birthday Trip to London

I turn 40 at the end of November. I’m not phased by the prospect of it, but instead of my usual birthday request of taking the day off and doing nothing except watching my favourite films and eating my favourite food I wanted to do something special to actually acknowledge it. 

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Intentions

I wake up each morning full of enthusiasm and intentions and tell myself that I’m going to write a blog post today. I get up, turn on my laptop… and then it’s 6.30pm and I find myself finishing work for the day and feeling mentally spent. It isn’t that I don’t want to blog – even after eight years I still get an enormous buzz from pressing the ‘publish’ button, but it has become less of a priority as other things have taken over. I’d like to change that, especially after receiving so many nice messages from bloggy friends who were wondering where I’ve been.

As I haven’t posted for several months, there’s a lot to talk about. 

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A New Year, New Start: Things I Learned in 2020

Things I Learned in 2020

I’ve always found something quite liberating about the clock striking midnight on New Year’s Eve. Despite the fact that it is just one minute, the transition between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day brings a sense of excitement and the notion that anything is possible.

A year ago The Bloke and I rang in the new year with the fireworks display from the London Eye on the TV, singing Auld Lang Syne with the cat and making promises that 2020 would be our year. I had plans. I had spent weeks carefully making lists of all of the things that we were going to do: the places we would go, the things we would see, the experiences that we would have. Continue reading

How to Deal with Comparisonitis

How to deal with comparisonitis 1

Comparisontis, the compulsion of comparing your accomplishments to those to others is the worst, but is not a new concept – keeping up with the Joneses is an idiom that is well-established within the English vocabulary. While it is a rather ridiculous (and immature) notion, it’s a surprisingly easy mindset to develop into once it has started and at its most extreme comparisonitis has the ability to rob us of our self-esteem, leave us feeling depressed and anxious and become judgemental towards not just ourselves, but those around us.

I’ve been blogging and working in social media management for a number of years and for the most part it has been an amazing experience. I love my job – I usually wake up in a morning excited to start work, and there’s almost nothing better than the feeling that accompanies a sudden wave of inspiration, a new-found connection or a well-received response to a piece of content.

While I’m fortunate to be doing something that I enjoy, the consequences of turning a favourite hobby into a source of income means that time spent, perspectives and goals shifted from a hobby to a business mindset. Of course, this is necessary to ensure continued success, but when the majority of my day is spent online I found that the cold doubt of comparisonitis was gradually starting to creep in, especially over the course of this year.

I have always had role models and mentors that I have looked up to and respected within the blogging world, but for the majority of my blogging life I have largely been unaffected by it, usually preferring to follow my own schedule and content in a way that suits my lifestyle. However, in recent months I became more aware of the negative feelings that accompany comparisonitis as I was working my way through my daily checklist and planning my content. Continue reading

A Visit to Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome

Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome Starry Night

This is no ordinary art exhibition…

What has become abundantly clear amidst the chaos and confusion of the last seven months is just how essential the arts are, with many turning to art and culture within their own homes as a form of mental stimulation, creativity and self-care.

While I certainly count my blessings, some of the things I have missed the most during lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions have been the theatre and museums. Seeing a show or an exhibition – usually several times a month – provided an often much-needed opportunity to switch off from the stresses of the day, relax and immerse myself in an amazing performance or stunning piece of artwork by talented performers and creatives.

I’m a huge Van Gogh fan, being lucky enough to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, see The Starry Night at the MOMA in New York and Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London and consequently I was ecstatic when I saw that the world-renowned Van Gogh Alive Experience was being premiered at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Continue reading

Autumn Thoughts

The atmosphere in the house has been difficult to adjust to. It has been a week since Poppy passed away and for the first time in seventeen years there hasn’t been a cat in the house to get under my feet, yell at me for breakfast or test out the acoustics of the bathroom by singing their favourite songs at 3.00am. I have found it difficult not to walk up and down the stairs in a certain way to accommodate a feline zooming past me, or to open a door slowly just in case their was a cat sitting behind it, and for the first few days the sight of an empty kitty bed made me break down in tears. My lovely neighbour works with an animal sanctuary and so she very kindly agreed to pass all of Poppy’s things on so that they can go to help another animal in need, which has made me feel a little better. Continue reading

Exploring the Holy Austin Rock Houses at Kinver Edge

Exploring the Holy Austin Rock Houses

The Bloke and I have been watching George Clarke’s National Trust Unlocked series and were particularly intrigued by his feature on the Holy Austin Rock Houses, especially when we discovered that it was only a forty minute drive from where we live.

Kinver Edge is home to the last cave-dwelling population in England, with a number of cave-houses carved into the local red sandstone.

According to the National Trust, the earliest record of people living in the rock houses is from 1777, when Joseph Heely took refuge from a storm and was given shelter by a “clean & decent family,” describing how the location of the rock houses provided open space and a better quality of air than the village situated below. The houses “warm in winter, cool in summer” and generally dry, had access to water from the well and later, gas, but no electricity. Sanitation was by earth closets. Continue reading

Sunflowers, Sunday and September

I love Sunday mornings, particularly when the sun is out after several weeks of torrential rain. It’s hard to believe that September is only a few days away – it seems barely ten years ago that we were starting August…

Sundays are often my most reflective, and looking back it has been a long rollercoaster of a month.

Over July I posted every single day for a Gratitude Challenge… and then promptly burnt myself out. It was fairly inevitable at the time – my work schedule was crazy, lots of places were still under lockdown and I barely left the house, and while I never mind my own company (preferring more of an introverted lifestyle), I think staying indoors was beginning to get to me.  Continue reading

Daily Gratitude Challenge Day 10: Traditions and Events

In an effort to inject some positivity into my daily mindset and the online world I have created a Daily Gratitude Challenge and I am inviting everyone to participate. If you have missed my introductory post that explains the challenge and maps out the daily post schedule, visit here.

Daily Gratitude Challenge Traditions and Events

Day 10 of the Daily Gratitude Challenge is all about the traditions and events that you are grateful for. Whether these have been established based on faith, nationality or annual routines that have simply been formed over time, this is an opportunity to focus on them in more detail. Continue reading

Daily Gratitude Challenge Day 9: The Future

In an effort to inject some positivity into my daily mindset and the online world I have created a Daily Gratitude Challenge and I am inviting everyone to participate. If you have missed my introductory post that explains the challenge and maps out the daily post schedule, visit here.

What are you most looking forward to (2)

Day 9 is all about the things you are looking forward to. I love planning, particularly when it involves organising a trip or an experience, but 2020 has seemingly had other ideas, not only by highlighting how much I have to be grateful for, but it has made me look at how many things to look forward to in the future that I would normally have taken for granted. Continue reading