Friday, 29 June 2012

Everyday.

a couple of iPhone photos from the last few days 

A lot can be said for a holiday-from-home. There's less pressure, stress and expense, and if you look hard enough, and in the right places, you can find just as much interest and joy. Only this time, you can keep going back, way after your holiday has ended.

As we all know, I've got a thing for Brighton. I've also got a thing for finding beauty in the everyday. I just like that idea. Everyone's idea of beauty and contentment is different, but I do believe that everyone can find it - we just may need to look for it. Spending a morning in bed, reading a new book, the windows open and a cup of tea in hand, is my idea of a good morning well spent. Gareth, on the other hand, likes to get up early and get on with the day. To each their own. Taking a walk down by the sea front, even when it's blustery and grey, is invigorating and clears the mind. Just make sure to wear a scarf or something, or you could go from joyous to grumpy in seconds. We've all been there.

Sometimes I'm desperate for something new and different and maybe even with a little bit of sunshine (get it together England), which is perfectly natural, but the trouble with wanting is its ability to strip satisfaction from the everyday. And the everyday can be pretty great.

"Gratitude turns what we have into enough."


It's true. I want to be more grateful. I want to appreciate something (or, let's go crazy, more than one thing) everyday. I think that's a good habit to get into.


Inspiration behind this post: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Reubin and Everyday Musings blog (which is all about finding beauty in the everyday).

Sunday, 24 June 2012

A quickie.


The football is on, boyfriend and the fam are engrossed, I am reading Tina Fey's Bossypants and taking periodic naps. It's Sunday evening. A repulsive mixture of period pains, a slight hangover and being generally exhausted is making me an utter beauty to be around. I'm going to get into my bed soon, I can already feel its soft, cosy goodness figuratively upon me.

IN OTHER NEWS: I finished my exams last Thursday, and feel less elated about it than thought I would. I think it's something to do with no longer having any control over the results and the commencement of the countdown to my imminent failure. Something like that. Friday was my littlest brother, Harry's 18th birthday, and yesterday was his party. It was a lovely and tiring weekend. I've got a top notch family. To celebrate my freedom from revision and as Gareth is taking next week off, I'm going to have a holiday in Brighton and pray for some sun and beach days. Oh and I got a haircut and dyed it out of the bottle.

I have list-making plans (as well as other way more crazy shit) for next week. I'm going to decide on a load of books I want to read this summer, some writing projects, and some adventures (nothing that involves any physical exertion though obviously).

England vs. Italy has just gone to penalties and I can hardly contain my indifference. 

It's probably time for bed. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

5 things.

1. With my last exam tomorrow, I am craving summery freedom with every ounce of my being. I've got picnics in my head, and lots of them. I love this post.


2. This is my perfect meal. Carbs, cheese and vegetables, served with a salad and some crusty bread. Oh my crikey. It's on the to-eat list.


3. I have a confession to make. I regularly visit THIS website. And my favourite board on Pinterest is my wedding one. Oh and I'm not engaged.

But, let us all agree, this would make the perfect wedding breakfast/name-places. MULTITASKING KLAXON.


4. I want to get dressed up and go out. Not fake tan and extensions and 10 inch heels, freezing my arse off on the streets of Watford. No. I want to look like this lady and drink cocktails.


5. Finally, right now in my life, whilst I'm cranky with exam stress, there really is only one thing that can make it all go away. His name is Phil Dunphy.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

No pain no gain. Or some shit.

I feel like I need to tell you about this. So that you feel sorry for me. And I am no longer suffering alone.

I bought the Jillian Michael's 30 day shred DVD. RED FLAG. Have you ever done this workout? It's intense, let us at least agree on that. The first day was tough, but I got through the workout, albeit with fairly profuse sweating and grunting. The rest of the day I was experiencing a dull stomach ache from where my muscles were all seized up and complaining. It wasn't until the next day however, that the pain really settled in. I could barely heave myself out of bed, but even so, I decided to do the workout again, because I'm hardcore. I'm not.

The pain was INDESCRIBABLE. Any and every movement hurt. I'm not even joking. My legs, hips, knees, abs, ribs, back, neck; they all hurt. I was very angry.

Has anybody else experienced this kind of unfathomable pain after a workout? Surely exercise is supposed to be REWARDED and not PUNISHED. Life is tough.

Anyway, I guess it's all worth it because my stomach now looks like this...


It doesn't.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Instagram whore.


Just some instagrams of my life in the last few weeks. Some food that I've put in my face, some things that I've seen with my eyes, and some people that I've hung out with with my whole entire being.

Happy weekend everybody.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Update.

I thought I'd title this post 'update' rather than 'exam update' because I actually wanted you to read on.

Devious.

THREE DOWN, ONE TO GO. That's my status at the moment. I had my third Philosophy exam this afternoon, this time for the full A2. When I sat down and opened my booklet, my heard sank and my palms got sweaty; the questions I had to answer were bitches. I took a swig of water, told myself no one was going to die so I should probably chill the hell out, and started planning my two essays.

As it transpired, I had more to say than I'd originally thought. That's always the way with me. So much to say, but no one really cares. During the two hour exam I wrote 10 pages all about Moral Philosophy and Philosophy of the Mind. It was up there with shit written by Descartes.

I honestly have no idea how any of my exams have gone so far. Not amazingly, is my only comment. But this time next week I will be completely finished with my A Levels (unless I have to retake them), and that could not make me happier.

After my exam today I ate this...


So things are actually kind of okay.

To anybody else taking exams at the moment - GOOD LUCK and EAT LOTS OF CAKE.

Monday, 11 June 2012

THE BISCUIT FESTIVAL.

On Saturday, when the sun appeared from behind the dark clouds for one precious day, Gareth and I went to Bloomsbury for a Biscuit Festival. 


The biscuit-y elements of the festival seemed a little sparse, with just a couple of biscuit based stalls. But there was an amazing farmers market and a tea dance in the afternoon that made for some excellent entertainment and plenty of delicious treats.

I sampled a chorizo burger for lunch (a taste SENSATION), and you see all those cake stalls? - well there were lots more too, and I tried to buy a cake or seven from every one of them (adding up to approximately a billion cakes). For some reason I decided to take them home to share with my family. I don't know either.

The tea dance was fun, but I was stupid and refused to partake in the group teaching-session and instead chose to awkwardly do the routine 'small', standing where I was in the crowd. I love to dance and all, but I wasn't in the mood for making everyone else feel bad with my KILLER MOVES.

For the rest of the afternoon we got coffee, sat in the park, and then had a wander around the British Library which was near by.

I love London. It makes my heart warm.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The day I became grown up.

I had a glorious birthday. Here's a few snapshots.


Notice how food orientated my birthday was. That's just how I live my life.

I woke up on the morning of my birthday at about 6am, inexplicably excited and hungry. I knew there was no way I was waking up the rest of my family to commence celebrations, not without incurring bodily harm anyway, so I rolled over, tried to forget that I was now IN MY ACTUAL TWENTIES, and went back to sleep until 8.

I received lots of lovely presents, including cookbooks, baking equipment, jewellery, a spa treatment and MONEY. Becca and I went for breakfast at my favourite coffee shop, and then bought lots of food for lunch and headed back home to eat it with my family and boyfriend. In the afternoon I went for drinks with some of my nearest and dearest, and then moved onto a restaurant for dinner with the family. I ate burger and chips, because that's how I roll. We got home, I drank some more red wine, and watched The Breakfast Club until we fell asleep.

I feel like a proper grownup.

Thank you everyone, for your birthday messages! You beautiful lot.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

5 things. A birthday edition.

1. It was Joy the Baker's birthday recently too, that deserves a mention in itself. But also, she inspired me with cake bunting.


2. CAKE. Cake is the most important element of a birthday. In my opinion. Cake is one of the most important elements of my life, let's face it. This makes me dribble.


And rhubarb is like, so, in season right now.

3. It's always sunny on my birthday, until now. I kind of wanted sunshine and cocktails. I'll have to make do with just cocktails. (Little bit obsessed with Olivia Rae's photography).


4. The perfect gift.


5. For real.


Could everybody please throw things at my mother until she gets me a kitten. Not sharp things or heavy things, but you know, annoying things. Thanks.

Friday, 8 June 2012

IT'S MY FRIGGING BIRTHDAY


Now, I understand that the postal system is temperamental, but I'd have expected slightly more of an onslaught of gifts from you all. Jeez.

JUST JOSHING. I'm very lucky and very spoiled. I'm going eat my own weight (if I was 300lbs) in cake today.

Birthday celebrations started yesterday, when my nearest and dearest friend came to visit and we did what we do best (gossip and put food in our faces). Today I'll be doing more of the same. I have cocktail based plans too. My birthday always gets spread out over a few days (because I make sure  of it), so you can expect me to bang on about it for a while yet.

Happy birthday to me.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Mornings.


"In an ideal world no one would talk before 10am. People would just hug. Because waking up is hard." - Zooey Deschanel said that. Zooey Deschanel is my hero.

A few weeks ago I talked about energy and my lack thereof. I have been searching for a quick fix, or a special remedy, that will cure my tiredness and demotivated state ever since. Thank you to those who left comments and advice, I very much appreciated it.

Since writing that post I've been trying to make a few small changes in the way I live my life, hoping that they will effect my energy levels positively. I know myself well enough to know that vowing to get up at 6am every morning and go to the gym (although this may be the most effective remedy) is unrealistic because, frankly, I'd rather lick a tramp. For me, and you may be different, the best thing I can do is set attainable goals that will boost my happiness levels whilst also being 'good' for my well-being.

Firstly, I got my big soft dressing gown out again. One of my biggest grievances with getting out of bed in the morning is how warm and cosy it is under the snuggly confines of my duvet, and how cold and harsh the world outside my bed seems. I figured that covering myself in thick, warm material would make the transition between sleeping and waking slightly less horrendous. It has been effective to an extent, but I still needed more of a draw to get me up.

A pleasurable activity seemed like a good way to start the morning off, and also something that might entice me out of bed. I decided to give myself a morning routine, beginning with catching up on my favourite blogs and drinking tea. Most blogs I read are American, and often they update them while we, in the UK, are sleeping, so the morning seemed like a good time to schedule them into my day. If immediately after getting up you are faced with a quick dash around the house and a slurp of coffee before running off to work, getting out of bed can seem a little depressing. If, on the other hand, you're getting up to drink tea and read nice things (before showering, breakfasting etc) it can seem less so.

In conjunction with another of my resolutions to do more exercise, I bought an 'AM and PM' yoga DVD. On the DVD is a selection of yoga workouts (I don't know whether they're called workouts), ranging from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, that are specifically engineered for either the morning or the evening. I've only just started morning yoga sessions (yesterday and today) but I can already feel myself becoming some kind of hippy yoga bitch. The poses wake up your muscles, stretch them out, and wash all the day-ahead-anxiety away. It feels great.

Lastly, I'm having issues with my alarm. At the moment I am using my iPhone alarm clock system, and neither is it loud enough nor difficult enough to turn off. It goes off, I slide the thingy to unlock the phone which in turn turns the alarm off, and I roll over and go back to sleep. I used to use a radio alarm clock and I genuinely have no idea why I stopped using it - my next step is to get that out again, turn it up really loud, and have Chris Moyles wake me up every morning. (I bloody hate Chris Moyles, I hope he doesn't ruin this resolution). I love radio though, and I'm hoping that listening to actual voices and music will awaken me more thoroughly than some generic tone Apple have conjured up.

And just one more thing - I'm calling for a little advice. I'm stuck in a breakfast-rut. As in, I have no idea what to eat for breakfast on mornings where I don't have a lot of time. I want something healthy but tasty, along with the rest of the world, and need a little inspiration. If you could help a sister out, that would be very much appreciated.

So there we have it; my mornings. They're getting better and slightly less groggy with the help of my small resolutions. I want to become one of those women that have perfect skin, a slick of red lipstick, not a hair out of place, and carry a latte in high heels at 9am. (LOL).

Friday, 1 June 2012

Being obsessive.



I haven't spoken about my OCD on the blog for some time now. Partly because I've recently become slightly less comfortable opening up the more vulnerable parts of myself, and partly because, slowly but surely, OCD is taking on a less prominent place in my life.

I had a bad experience a little while a go, which made me question whether writing a blog was childish or silly. There is no reason for anybody to be interested in what I have to say, some may even find it irritating, but if the person behind the words is making themselves vulnerable and ripe for criticism (rather than just posting about makeup), then the receiving of that criticism can be a little difficult to take.

In general I like to keep it lighthearted. I'm a positive person, I'm constantly looking for (or trying to look for) the good, but I'm also, sometimes brutally, honest. When things go bad, I don't mind voicing them; I believe there's therapy and learning to have in doing so. However, criticism is hard for anyone, and the natural reaction is to retreat to protect oneself. I don't think that's a positive or beneficial reaction though, it's surely better to embrace 'yourself', no matter what others may think.

I realised I'm very happy sharing my inner workings online for all to see - I've had far more good come from it than bad. I believe people to be, on the most part, good, and I plan to 'embrace myself' and the things that make me happy. So in the spirit of that, here's a little update on my mental health (oo-err).

A few weeks ago I had my first session of CBT therapy. My therapist said to me on that first session: "you're not going to like me, but I'm not here to be liked, this is going to be shit", and with those words I knew she was the woman for the job. We haven't yet started the real nitty-gritty stick-your-hand-in-the-toilet-bowl therapy, for which I wait with sheer terror, but already I can feel myself making the effort to change my thinking from negative to positive and in doing so, changing my behaviour.

Last weekend in Brighton was not only lovely because it was sunny and fun, it was lovely because I used a fraction of the soap I normally use, and my general anxiety was probably at an all time low. I am under no illusion that it's all going to be harmonious and my brain is going to accept these changes with no fight, but it was a nice taster of what is to come.

I'm at a place in my life where change is paramount, in lots of different ways, and I'm both excited and scared shitless. Pimms and strawberries will help I reckon.


This blog post is odd because it covers two very tenuously linked topics. But what can you do?