Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Three projects for Spring



There must be something about the sun you know. After nearly a year of neglecting my blog, along comes the first proper day of spring sunshine and it has me itching to dust off this space of mine and write again. It may also be because spring always feels like a good time to shake things up a little, whatever it is, here I am tapping away at this page for the first time in a very very long time, and enjoying it as well. 

Blogging, or blogging well should I say, is absolutely a labour of love, so if the heart isn't in it its damned near impossible to fake. I've had no desire to blog or create for the longest of times, while still very much calling myself a blogger on insta so sorry about that guys, but I think I'm ready to give it a a go again, although somewhat sporadically I'm sure.

Blogging isn't the only thing I want to do this spring though, in fact I have a couple of other projects in mind that I want to get underway as quickly as possible. Partly because, as I've already mentioned, spring just feels like the perfect time for a refresh. I've felt a little stagnant as of late, coming home from work with all the right plans and ideas but actually spending most of my free time napping or scrolling through my phone fairly absentmindedly. But also because, as you'll know if you follow me on twitter, Marc is away at the moment, for another 5 weeks at least! This means that I have even more time to myself than usual, and if I don't find something to fill it up with I'll probably drive myself up the wall. 

Marc himself is also probably the single most driven person I've even known, so it would be nice to be able to tell him that I've spent my time on something actually productive when he does finally come home. I miss the sense of accomplishment that comes with doing something interesting with ones spare time, rather than watching 3 hours of The Goldbergs every evening, which is only a slight exaggeration I'm sure. 

So my first plan to be, and one that ties in rather nicely with the resurgence of my will to blog, is to finally book a proper photo shoot with a photographer. I've been umming and ahhing about whether it would be worth it, whether I could afford it, and ultimately whether I could manage it without looking like a total wally for absolutely ages, and I think I'm just about ready to take the plunge! I've seen some of my absolute favourite bloggers really move forward with their content after deciding to hire someone to take legit professional photos for them, and honestly, I kind of want a piece of that. 

Because don't get me wrong, Marc is an excellent insta husband (a title I'm sure he's absolutely thrilled about) and does a brilliant job even with my whinging, but I just feel like hiring a photographer, whose actual job it is to take photos, is something I'd really like to give a go, if only the once. In fact, I think it was probably this post by the wonderful Beth that made me really think about it as a possibility, as well as making me realise that I wasn't silly for wanting to try it either, because I think I did feel a little silly! I won't make any promises just yet, but fingers crossed I can be brave enough to try.

Project number two then is something completely different and it's just to read more books. I have a terrible habit of buying new books almost every week (I adore a Sunday charity shop book hunt like nothing else) but then letting them sit on my shelf for months without giving them a second glance. Having all this extra time to myself is the perfect opportunity to start making me way through my to be read pile and I'm looking forward to making that time something to really look forward to as well, cup of tea and plate of biscuits and all.

I've made my way through four books already since Marc's been gone, including the Island by Nicky Singer a book I'd give a very strong 4/5, so fingers crossed I could be on to a winner with this one.

Finally then, and probably the most seasonally appropriate project of the lot, is to create a proper balcony garden. Since the start of this year I've been thinking a lot about trying to maximise our tiny bit of outside space which in all honestly has been very neglected since we moved in over a year ago. I adore caring for our few very well loved house plants, so introducing a few outdoor bedding plants seemed like the natural next step, and I've now become a bit of a woman obsessed.

I've planted some pots of mixed pansy's and viola, with the help of Mamma Drury an actual plant queen, and I have plans for more plants in late april/may when the weather is hopefully a little more consistent. I can't stop searching for photos of balcony gardens on Pinterest, and i've been quizzing my mum on the benefits of peat free soil. Flowers and plants have such a wonderful calming effect, and tending to them and watching them grow and thrive feels good for the soul in a way I can't really explain.

I'm so ready for a bit of a shake up and I'm currently feeling very optimistic about my chances! Lets just keep our fingers crossed I remember all this on the days Netflix seems a little too hard to resist though shall we? 




Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Home

I'm writing this in my old bedroom surrounded by fuschia pink walls and the secret scribbles of 15 year old me hidden in my wardrobe. I feel at home and not all at once. I've brought myself back to Scunthorpe for the second week of my Easter Holiday because Marc has just left for 2 months of working abroad and I didn't want to be on my own in Ipswich. Another place that feels like home and not home all at once.

I've be thinking a lot, and I mean a lot, about where my home is nowadays. I've always considered myself a home body and to not have that answer to hand is a little unsettling. I refer to my home differently when talking to different people and I've been struggling to shake the feeling of unease that comes with a lack of clarity. Yesterday I read this glorious post from Victoria and while it was so SO comforting to know that other people call multiple different cities and countries home, I still can't escape this odd feeling that I'm not 100% comfortable in any of the places that I would usually name.

It did make me realise that home means so many different things though. I may not love all the places in my life for the same reasons but that doesn't make them any more or less important to me.



Scunthorpe is my home town and it will always, always have a big piece of my heart. My whole family is from here and the experiences I had while living here have just about shaped my whole entire being. I came home on Saturday all tired and teary eyed and my Mum was there ready with a cup of tea (just how I like it) and a hug. I had the most glorious sunny weekend with my family, but now everyone else is back at work I'm feeling just a little lost. All my things, bar one suitcase full, aren't here anymore and I'm struggling to fill my time until I go back.

I feel content and safe here but I don't feel challenged.

Living in Ipswich, on the other hand is a constant challenge. I remember the first time I came to visit, when we'd already chosen our new flat and paid the initial deposit, I met Marc at the train station and I cried. I cried and cried because I was scared and nervous and it didn't feel like home. Marc didn't know what that meant and I certainly didn't know what that meant but I just couldn't shake that feeling.

Of course that feeling didn't last and I've grown to really really like Ipswich. I like my Job and I like our flat and I love the life that me and Marc are carving for ourselves here. But now he's gone, for the time being at least, and I'm not so sure how much I'm going to like it all without him. It feels like our home now for sure, but it doesn't really feel like my home yet, if that makes sense? I don't know who I am in Ipswich all on my own, but I'm going to try really hard to find out.



And then there's Manchester. Beautiful glorious Manchester, aka my favourite city in possibly the whole wide world. I spent three years there for University and while it wasn't exactly all smooth sailing I really couldn't have seen myself anywhere else. I grew and changed so much in those three years, and that version of me is someone I still really love. Manchester feels like my soul city, but I'm well aware that university is very very different to what comes after. I lost my way a little bit after I came home and I just don't know how well I would have coped without my family to support me through that.

My home is where I grew up, it's where I became my favourite version of myself and it's where my new life is all at once. Figuring out if my home is is where I belong, on the other hand, feels like something else entirely.

(Big love to Marc for taking these photos, which were honestly a bit of a happy accident. They might not really go but I loved them too much not to share.)



Monday, 13 February 2017

Learning to Like My Own Company

For as long as I can remember I've been an extrovert, never particularly loud or self-absorbed (as the stereotype seems to go) but an extrovert all the same. I think there are a lot of misconceptions floating about when it comes to what it means to be an extrovert, just as there are about what it means to be an introvert. People always assume that you’re kind of shallow, that you love the sound of your own voice more than anything, and that you’re the life and soul of any party 24/7. For some people this may be absolutely true, but not so much for me.

All it really means for me is that I feel my best when I’m interacting with another people. I love small talk in huge groups at parties but I love having really meaningful conversations with a handful of my very favourite people. I love talking, I love listening and I can’t concentrate in silent libraries. I always have the TV on when I'm in on my own for 'company' and I always sleep with my window open so I can hear the cars go past outside. I feel the most myself when I’m not by myself, which means that I generally really struggle when it comes to spending time on my own. 

Back when I was at college/university I had a part time job, a lot of different hobbies, and an equal number of different friendship groups because being on my own for any length of time made me feel restless and on edge. I know a lot of people don't look back too fondly on their time in education, but the almost constant interaction college and university provided was pretty much a dream for me. Post university life, on the other hand, has proven very different, and something that I'm still learning to cope with. Over the past three years, I've gone from living in a house with 7 other girls (exactly my kind of madness) to living in a flat with Marc nearly 200 miles away from everyone I know. 

Don't get me wrong I love finally being able to live with Marc, but because our schedules don't always match up, and because I don't have any IRL friends here, the amount of 'me time' I find myself with is sometimes kind of overwhelming. While I hope my current situation won't persist forever, I miss girly chat over a cuppa like you wouldn't believe, I still think it's important that I make an effort to feel better in my own company anyway. After all, there are always, always, going to be days or even weeks I find myself on my own. 

This week being a prime example! I'm on half term holiday but Marc's still at work. I'm planning on filling my time with lots of blogging, some wandering into town, some reading and maybe even some painting. When I'm in on my own I always tend to fall back into scrolling on Instagram or twitter for hours without contributing anything, or binge-watching a series that I'm not actually that interested in because it's easy. But I think part of learning to enjoy spending time by myself might be understanding that I'm worth the effort of more than easy. It doesn't matter if its just me, I'm worth taking some time to cook well and I'm worth getting dressed and popping into town just for some air and that little feeling of accomplishment. 

I spoke a while ago about wanting to take myself on a solo date or two and I'll be honest it's still not something I've managed, but tomorrow is valentines day, right? So maybe while Marc's at work during the day I should take myself on a valentines date. I could take myself off to a coffee shop to do some blogging, leave my phone in my bag, and maybe even treat myself to a cake to go with my cuppa. After all, as I will keep trying my hardest to remember, I'm worth it all on my own.