Blogging Journey

It’s the last day of Blog Every Day in May! And I managed to do it! So I feel that’s a big achievement. I’ve enjoyed doing it, I’ve liked the challenge of a different topic every day and it was great reading other blogs. 

I think I’ve been a bit more open about things than I originally set out to be. I was just doing it for some fun, but it kind of evolved. Some people I don’t know have contacted me off the blog to chat about their experiences in relation to some posts. Blogs which I thought were pretty rubbish ended up getting a great response. Some of the topics made me think about things in a different light, and I enjoyed ‘working through’ it through writing about it.  I’m going to miss doing it every day- I quite enjoy writing, I’ve discovered! 

Bank Holiday 

Day 30 of Blog Every Day in May is Bank Holiday… And it’s also my birthday! My husband and I had a day out for my birthday on Saturday, so I’m writing about that today. 

It was a surprise until the morning, when he told us where we were going. For lunch he’d booked a table at Turtle Bay, a Caribbean restaurant. I’d never had Caribbean food before but it was really good- I had mango and chicken wings to start and prawn and mango wrap for main. We shared some rum cake for pudding as well. It was pretty spicy food, so not a place to go if you’re not a fan of spice, but we loved it. The restaurant is designed to make you feel like you’re on a beach in Jamaica, so it had a nice feel to it. 


After lunch we went to the Hippodrome to watch the Sound of Music. I love musicals but I hadn’t seen this one (except for the film). It was pretty good, definitely worth seeing. The person who played Captain Von Trapp was an ex-Coronation Street star and sang out of time a couple of times which threw the kids a bit, but overall it was a good show. 

Afterwards, we came home and watched TV and ate Ben and Jerry’s- less exciting, but still a nice end to a day out! 

Self-Care Sunday

Today I’ve decided I’m having a ‘sleep/pj day’, which means sitting up is a bit too much effort, so I’ll spend the day asleep or lying down. So it fits well with day 29 of Blog Every Day in May being Self-care Sunday. It also means this will be pretty brief!

Things I like to do which I guess fall under ‘self-care’:

– basic things like have a shower. I didn’t fully appreciate this until it became a bit of a challenge some days, but it makes me feel so much better!

– watching a favourite TV programme. New Girl is my current favourite.

– colouring. I love colouring. It doesn’t require much brain power but the end product is pretty. 

knitting. I’m on the look out for some new ideas, so let me know if you have any good ones!

– looking at photos. I’m not good at taking them, but I like looking at other people’s! 

– talking to friends. Mostly via Facebook messenger/text. 

– going out to the cinema. It’s basically still watching TV but a bigger screen and with other people.

– getting food or takeaway. Always a safe bet. 

Most people use ‘self-care’ as a way of slowing down their lives and doing something just for them. I spend a lot of the day by myself doing things slowly, so I suppose my version of self-care would be making sure I have some kind of human interaction every day. Blogging helps with that, as does social media! 😊

Sukin Botanical Body Wash

Day 28 of Blog Every Day in May is ‘Beauty and Skincare’. I used to have a skincare regime (of sorts), but now I tend to look for things which don’t require much time or energy to do. I’ve always had fairly sensitive skin, as in some products make me come out in a rash, but it’s got a lot worse in the last few months, to the point where I can’t use most moisturisers without wanting to rip my skin off and coming out in big, angry spots. But if I don’t use moisturisers, my skin feels like it’s shrinking and burns. Even expensive ones and E45/Doctor prescribed cream were making it worse, which made me think it was possibly also something to do with how the product reacts when I get hot or wear certain fabrics.

So I did some research and asked an aromatherapist friend and came across this:

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My friend recommended rosehip oil because it helps keep the skin ‘elastic’. I decided putting oil on before getting dressed would end up with me looking like I was about to be put on a roasting spit so I started looking at shower gels. This is an Australian company, which makes 100% natural skincare products. This product contains rosehip oil along with jojoba and avocado. You can buy it online from many retailers, between £10-£15 for 500ml depending on the site/delivery charges.

I started using it in February every day and haven’t finished the bottle yet. It seemed a bit pricey for me, but then again, I haven’t used any other of my ‘usual’ moisturisers or shower gels since, so it does work out cheaper in the long run. The other advantage I’ve found with it is that it seems to be reducing the redness of stretch marks as well- an added bonus which the Bio-Oil and Palmer’s moisturisers I tried before definitely weren’t doing.

It’s not completely cured my itchy skin, I still take antihistamines, but it definitely has improved it a lot just by swapping it for my old shower gel and moisturisers.

 

I love Knitting

Day 27 of Blog Every Day in May is Passion Project. I have a confession to make…I’m in my 20s and I love knitting. I used to laugh at people like me for being ‘old’ and ‘boring’ and made WI jokes. But then I started knitting and found that I loved it.

A few years ago, I had a period of uncontrolled asthma and couldn’t leave the house for a few months. Even when I started getting better, I was really limited with what I could do for a long time. The most frustrating thing for me was that talking made it worse, so I felt like I was in prison. Apart from not being able to breathe, I felt fine, so I woke up one morning and thought ‘Arghhh I *need* something to do, maybe I should just admit defeat now and become an old lady who knits’. So I sent my husband out to Hobbycraft and started.

I wasn’t very good to start off with. I think I cast on 50 stitches to make a scarf, and ended up with 90-something by the end. The problem was, at the end of a row, I kept getting the last stitch ‘upside down’, so it looked like 2 rather than one, so I knitted it twice, therefore increasing my stitches. IMG_0531

After my husband watched a few knitting videos and taught me properly, I got better. So, for some bizarre reason, despite my ‘interesting scarf’, my second project was a jumper- I like challenges. Which actually fitted and turned out quite well!IMG_0627

Here are some other projects I’m proud of:

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Hot water bottle cover

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Stocking Christmas Presents

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Newborn baby tiger sleeping bag and hat, modelled by Baby Oleg the Meerkat.

I still knit a lot now, I’m always looking for new things to knit. I like doing it because:

  • there’s something really satisfying about making something yourself
  • It gives me something to focus my mind on when I’m wound up
  • It improves my concentration
  • You can make it as challenging or easy as you like depending on the pattern
  • I haven’t had to buy wool for months because I’ve got a big enough stash to make random projects from

I spend a lot of time watching TV, so knitting (and adult colouring, now that it’s a thing) gives me something to do which makes the day go by quicker.

 

Photography

Day 26 of Blog Every Day in May is Photography. I won’t offer tips, I’m hopeless at taking photos. As well as BBQing, my husband has ‘banned’ me from taking other people’s photo because my hand is too shaky, I can’t make it focus or I stick my finger over the lens.

Here are some of my ‘finer’ moments from the last fortnight:

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Here I’ve captured the knee of my pyjamas and the carpet. Neither of which are in focus. Don’t know what I was aiming for.

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My colouring in the back garden. And my finger.

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This is a fantastic composition of a partial yellow box (?), a white line, someone’s foot and what I think is a mic stand. Again, not a clue what I was actually aiming for. Presumably the person.

Why are these beauties/monstrosities still on my phone? Because technology hates me, and if I try to delete things, I risk deleting them all.

I do take some surprisingly good photos with my ‘point-click-hope for the best’ method though. As in, my husband is surprised and everyone else assumes my husband took it.

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Lausanne in Switzerland

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Top of the Rock and Central Park, New York. I actually took this without the viewer in it, and then thought ‘what would my husband do?’ and took it again.

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Derwent Water, Lake District

IMG_4745Alnwick Gardens, Treehouse Restaurant, Northumbria

#nofilter on all of the above. Mostly because I don’t know how to add filters…

All photos taken by me

To my 10-Years-Younger Self

To my 10-Years-Younger Self,

Things work out differently from the way you plan, not necessarily in a ‘that’s life, it’s unpredictable’ kind of way. It doesn’t mean that it’s all negative, but there are some lessons which will save you a lot of hassle and heartache if you learn them sooner rather than later.

  1. Your stubbornness isn’t a bad thing. It keeps you alive on more than one occasion.
  2. Your gut instinct is usually right, follow it every time. Especially when people are telling you you’re wrong.
  3. Not everyone has the same morals as you. Don’t expect people to do the ‘decent’ thing just because you would.
  4. You don’t always have to put everyone else first. Sometimes it’s ok to prioritise yourself. But still be a nice human being, ok?
  5. You can’t change other people. Some ‘friends’ will let you down, that’s their issue, not yours. Remember point number 3?
  6. You’re a lot stronger than you think. Mostly because you don’t even know that half of the stuff coming exists yet.
  7. Asking for help isn’t the same as admitting defeat.

Enough of the depressing things. Here’s some positives:

  1. Friends come from unlikely situations. Go with it!
  2. You have the opportunity to make some positive changes and impact on other people, take it.
  3. You’ll get the chance to have a clean slate- not many people get that.
  4. You’ll appreciate the little things more and the big things are even more amazing.
  5. The things that you worry about aren’t actually as bad in real life as you think they will be.
  6. Living abroad is great and you get lots of travel opportunities.

And just some general things:

  1. Stop watching X-factor, BGT and Dr Who because everyone else does. Join twitter earlier so you can watch the highlights videos and talk about those bits instead. It’ll save you hours at the weekend and they don’t get better!
  2. Stop worrying about weight gain. Because when you’re 8 sizes more in 10 years time, being a size 10 rather than a size 8 really isn’t that big a deal!
  3. Embrace the curly-frizz that is your hair. It doesn’t like to be tamed and fighting with it is a waste of time! And for some reason everyone else seems to like it…
  4. Labels save you loooaaads of time when marking books. Discover those earlier! Plus your handwriting is terrible.
  5. Taylor Swift is amazing. Stop fighting it! So are One Direction before they get long hair and beards.
  6. Avoid travel by trains. They hate you. You’ll get stranded a lot. But then it does also help you make friends!
  7. Don’t eat snails or frogs legs. Just don’t. And goat’s cheese.
  8. Take photos more often. Most will end up blurry and with your finger over the lens, but you end up taking some really good ones sometimes by accident.
  9. Why haven’t you been watching Grey’s Anatomy all along?!
  10. Discover Ben & Jerry’s and Domino’s as soon as you get to Uni, while it’s still acceptable to have those as a separate food group. It’s frowned upon as an adult for some reason…

Enjoy!

Home Sweet Home

Day 23 of Blog Every Day in May is ‘Home Sweet Home’. I have a house. I like my house. But I suppose, to me, my home is where I feel settled at a particular time. So it doesn’t have to be the house I own, home could also be a holiday house or a tent on a camp site, for example. 

As a child, I didn’t live in the same house for long periods of time. We lived on an army base, which is anything but homely (we had to check for bombs under the car when we went out), then we moved from southern England to Scotland and then later back to England again. I never could get home sick because home wasn’t a ‘place’ in my mind. The closest I’ve come to homesickness was when I first moved to France and I hadn’t met any English speaking people yet and my brain was fried and tired from trying to speak French- I was ‘language’ sick for a few weeks, but I liked being in France. 

I lived an hour and 6 hours away from both sets of grandparents, so it didn’t feel weird when I left home and didn’t see my parents for weeks at a time. I also spent 2 years living in a different city (and country) to my now husband. I can manage as long as I have a way of contacting people, even if it isn’t ideal. I would miss people if I didn’t have the ‘choice’ of being able to see them though. Technology now makes it easier: if I wanted to talk to my husband when I lived in France, I had to get him to ring the phone box outside in the playground (and wear thermals) when our landline broke- that’s commitment! 

Home is where I feel settled. I felt settled in hotels in India, USA, Malta and Spain; on campsites in France and in various houses in the UK. It’s how I feel about it or who’s with me which makes it a home. 

Fashion & Style

Day 22 of Blog Every Day in May is Fashion and Style. I’m not particularly fashionable or stylish, and I definitely put comfort/practical-ness before fashion, particularly recently. 

That said, I have just helped a bride-to-be friend find bridesmaid dresses for me and another bridesmaid, along with another best person (didn’t want to leave him out, but he doesn’t require a dress!), which involved internet browsing and a trip to the shops. There are lots of strange choices for bridesmaid dresses out there, which made me think maybe I am a bit stylish than I thought! Ie some looked like sacks despite the well proportioned model. 

The other bridesmaid has a much better eye than I do for making things ‘work’ so it was a good weekend of thinking outside the box in terms of dress styles and fabrics. She can also work wonders with adjustments! We weren’t successful at the shops and will order online where we did find a lovely dress, but it was fun looking through lots of different styles, cuts and fabrics (as well as laughing at some of the crazier choices!).