20 March 2019

WHAT IS TOO MUCH?



All of Monday I was asking myself where I draw the line when I talk about mental health related subjects with you guys. It is one of those things where it is a little blurry because it is easy for people to assume that the only reason you are giving details is for sympathy, which in my case couldn't be further from the truth. 

All I am trying to do is help people. That is all. Nothing else. 

When I was really young and first started suffering these thoughts that I just couldn't explain, I just wanted to understand what was happening to me; as I got diagnosed and got more used to my pattern of feelings, I wanted to find out more information about if other people suffer from the same things, and I really struggled (back then) to find things that were not too clinical, because they made it feel too much and it was frightening. I guess that is where I am trying to fit in with these types of posts; to be a real voice, a voice in the moment with the issue, whatever moment that is (good/bad and in-between). Because it is really easy to feel like you are alone; like you have somehow mislead yourself and others about how you are feeling, or you are just being a bit over dramatic, which is the illness talking of course.

So I have been mulling over what to share here, how open to be, how much to really discuss, but then I made a decision this week that I would just talk about whatever I wanted to, because I want to give a transparent account of life with mental health issues: the good the bad and the really f**king ugly. 

I totally understand that many people just don't want to read about this stuff, so I won't be constantly posting about it. I am just in a phase right now where I have more to say, because it is something that is currently taking up a significant amount of my life and my energy. I'm in an 'ugly phase' at this moment in time; 99% of the time I am honestly so much better; but lately things have been spiraling and, a couple of weeks ago, they got so painful that I had to give in and go to the doctors.

I have been in that place many times before and have always got a hold on things before they took over me too much, but for whatever reason I just failed to do that. Recognising the vulnerability is half the battle, and being brave enough to say the words 'I need help' out loud, to a doctor, is much harder than most people think, but if you can do it, and you have a good doctor (which I can gladly say I do), then you will hopefully come away with a plan.



My doctor referred me to the mental health team and my assessment got pushed through much, much quicker than I thought it would. Yesterday, at 11am, I walked into the building and went through yet another assessment.

Before I say you more I want to say that the guy that assessed me was a very wonderful human, so anything I say is zero reflection on him, because he was great, but I am still pondering whether this whole 'let's put someone into one pigeon hole' thing is really working for us as a society in general. For some people it will of course, but I honestly think that for the majority of us, it can be total bullshit.

One of my very lovely friends, when checking on how I was doing, said something that I just thought 'hell yes, you are so right', and this is what it was: '...this is the problem, pigeon holing people. It's like there are only round holes, yet we've all got corners and strange angles that'll never fit, ever... Have you ever considered that you don't have a disorder, of any sort, it's just that you don't quite fit the socially ascribed framework...?' - genius and so true right?

I am not downing our NHS, they are amazing, but as a somewhat confused and a little bit of a poorly human being right now, I read the descriptions of the things they think I may have (which change with every assessment by the way), and I feel even more confused and, quite frankly, a little bit worse for it, because I do recognise some of the traits in, let's say 'Manic Depression', 'Bipolar' and also in the latest one I've been told to look at, 'Borderline Personality Disorder' and I think 'shit, I am broken!'. Hand on heart though, after hours of reflection and rationalising things yesterday, if we all look at the list of symptoms attached to each of the conditions I mention above, I think 90% of us will find things under each category that we will say 'yep, that's me', perhaps even multiple times over. Does that make us all a bunch of fruit loops? No, it makes us human.

Post assessment I now play the waiting game of 'let's see what a bunch of people, who have never met me, make of the notes from today's session and decide is wrong with me'; such a fun game to play!

It's not an easy journey, but let's remember that there is a place for everything. I have been 'in the system', so to speak, since roughly 14/15 years old, so for well over 20 years, but if you have never been diagnosed or opened up about your mental health, it is important that you do it. It can, and does, help many people. For me, as things stand right now, I think I am going to try and seek alternatives because I cope most of the time, I truly do; positive books, podcasts, people, blogs etc, all keep me on track. Where I need help is when the really dark thoughts set in, and I know there must be other routes to help that.

I still stand by the positive results I get from my medication, currently 40mg Fluoxetine a day, as it truly helps lift the fog, but doesn't numb my emotions to a point where I am a zombie; I am still very much the over-sensitive moron I have always been and I can live with that because it is who I am at my core and I don't want that to disappear.

There you have it, a bit of an update and an insight into my current state of mind. It is all a journey and life is full of chapters that test us, but it is how we choose to learn from them that counts and I am doing my best to beat this bugger of a... thing!
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17 March 2019

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ Beautiful Marazion ^^

Happy Sunday once again lovely! So much is happening right now that I feel like it is Sunday before I have even registered that a new week has begun. Everything is whirling at a million miles an hour in my brain right now, so time is either painfully slow or at top speed, depending on the day and on what is happening! 

How has your week been? Full of inspiration and fun I hope... tell me what has been the highlight of your week in the comments, I would love to know what you've getting up to.

I am going to hop right on into this weeks gratitude list / general musings; let's do this!

:: I've had a couple of lovely walks this week, which were both really needed to clear my brain from the dust gathering in the corners. For me, being out in nature can't be beaten by anything at all; either by a beach or under the stars; it just helps everything seem better again. Watching happy dogs playing on the beach or kids having a great time lifts my spirits up so much; it's so lovely, it really is.

:: Whilst walking I really love watching the weather pass by. When I drove to Marazion beach, earlier in the week, I had to sit in the car and wait for a heavy rain shower to pass, then watched as the sun pushed on through and the rain passed over. As I sat on the wall there were two very different views from left to right (see below!).


^^ Marazion beach, looking towards Penzance... sun! ^^
^^ Marazion beach, looking towards Perranuthnoe... rain! ^^

:: I have had a bit of a 'throw back' music moment recently, thanks to Spotify! I found myself deep into old INXS tracks and then, most randomly, listening to 'Come Undone', a Robbie Williams song I had totally forgotten existed; I'm not a huge Robbie fan or anything, but I loved that song when I first heard it and it just screams the 90's doesn't it!

:: On Friday I got a little mention on 'Blog It, Boss It' radio, the podcast by Holly from 'A Branch of Holly'. She is doing little segments every week, where she picks someone who has left a review on iTunes, and has a look at your blogs home page and offers up some advise. If you saw my Instagram stories you will already know that I freaked out immediately, but I have since listened to her advice and I am totally on board with everything she spoke about. You can find the episode here, my little bit is just a couple of minutes but I am super grateful because Holly really knows her stuff!

:: I have done a lot of painting this week. I am trying to get through my commissions before I start my new job on 27th March (that is news hot off the press, as I have just got that date through - you heard it here first guys, before 'Hello' magazine got the gossip and everything!). For now I have taken my bespoke paintings off of Leaf Lane Studio, because I need to seriously increase my prices. I have been under charging substantially and so, for now, whilst I work out a new price structure, I have taken the page down, but if you do want to contact me about a painting you can still email me because I will take it on, but it will be priced per job from now on I think. Email me on hello@leaflanestudio.com for a chat!



:: I must say a huge thank you to Mandy, who is one of my lovely Instagram friends, who sent me a book she thought I would like this week; it is so sweet when you guys do things like that. If it wasn't for Lucy, another IG buddy, I would have never read the Mel Wells book, The Goddess Revolution, that made me see that I had to switch my mind from the total body hatred I was experiencing to 'I will try to love my body'! It is still very much a work in progress, but I will get there some day I swear! Thank you to you guys because you really are so lovely.

:: Speaking of books, I am just over half way through The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, and I am seriously loving it. The story has so many gems and little nuggets of goodness! I can't believe I haven't read it before, I really can't.

:: After mentioning that I wanted to create an enamel pin for a mental health charity, I have started working on some designs this week and think I have settled on two options. One is more simple, the other is more pretty and detailed! I think I will get them both made if I can't decide and sell one in my shop anyway! I will do a poll on my Leaf Lane Studio Instagram at some point, so make sure you are following along over there too.



:: I am seriously thinking of uploading some quote/lettering designs onto one of those websites that you can print t-shirts or sweatshirts of your own choice (I think one is called 'Spreadshirt' but there are others for sure). I certainly can't afford to lay out the cash to get those kind of things made and then just hope to sell them, so doing it that way seems like a better option, it also would mean that you guys could choose exactly the style and colour you would like (and there are many to choose from). I am thinking of some really simple quotes (positive of course!) and see how it goes. What do you think? It would be separate to Leaf Lane Studios website, but I would add the page of designs to both websites. I'm mulling it over! Too many ideas verses hours in the day!

:: Have you guys watched any of the new Ricky Gervais series on Netflix called 'After Life'? It had been recommended to me by a couple of people and, I have to tell you, it is so good. It's one of those programs where you a laughing hysterically one minute and then have tears in your eyes the next. I would highly recommend it to anyone, it is worth a watch for sure.

That is it for today, I am off to continue on my painting mission and to remove my pajamas and replace them for clothes before I decide to just stay in them all day, not that there is anything wrong with that, but it doesn't make me feel too productive!

Have a truly wonderful day and I will speak to you on Wednesday or over on Instagram where, apparently I spend way too much time! 

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13 March 2019

HOW?



After a few Wednesdays of serious posts, I thought I would go light-hearted today, because sometimes it is totally needed isn't it?

How do some people make life look so effortless? You know those days where you forget that you are meant to ignore all the edited lives on Instagram and Pinterest and instead you find yourself in a vulnerable moment and, before you know it, you are two hours into the void of scrolling, wondering how you even manage to human at all? Come on, we've all been there!

I wanted to dedicate this post, in a light-hearted way of course, to all the times I have thought something utterly ridiculous whilst scrolling on-line; let me know what you agree with in the comments.

1. How do these people have plants that are so lush, glossy and green, whilst mine, regardless of what I do, seem to be actively trying to plot their own death? I read the instructions, I re-pot them when I am meant to, I water them when I am meant to; desperately try and create the 'right' environment for them to live in, but the buggers just will not even try to live!

2. Speaking of plants; why does everyone seem to have beautiful baskets, ceramic pots and all other manner of bespoke plant-holding-vessels? Our house is full of cheap plastic ones that are all the same (maybe that's why the poor plants are giving up?!). Note to self; inspire plants to live by investing in comfier homes for them.

^^ Image source from Pinterest, original from H & M ^^

3. I am suddenly realising how home-ware heavy this is... but my God people, why is everything so perfectly matched and why are there no huge piles of art materials haphazardly strewn about?!

4. Let's talk about cat beds. Gizmo has four 'official' cat beds, by that I mean they are beds made for a cat (I guess you worked that out for yourself!), but she also has six other places she sleeps, including on my all time favourite snuggly jumper, which she adores, so I let her have it for herself (even though it is quite possibly the one thing I own which has no holes in it). She also has the cosiest top from a pajama set on top of an even cosier blanket, which makes the bedroom look a bit of a mess. None of these things feature in peoples pictures on-line do they? I can think of only one exception to the rule (cough cough Peta, cough cough!).

5. Fitness posts are always interesting. I don't know about you guys, but when I train I look very much a cross between an over ripe tomato (slightly squashy and very, very red) and nervous wreck (clammy/sweaty... so sexy I tell you!). Instagram / Pinterest also doesn't show just how much most leggings have to be turned up in order to fit. I am 5ft 6", so not exactly little; pretty damn average for a girl, yet I have to turn up most of my leggings, carefully folding them under as equally as possible so I don't look like I have one leg distinctly longer than the other.

6. None of my meals make it into a photo, because I eat them.

 ^^ Original image from 'Summer Braid' ^^

7. Hairstyles. Oh Pinterest and your hairstyles. Maybe it is just me and my inability to follow instructions, but how do these girls make everything look so good? I can get one hundred 'bobby pins' in and still everything falls out.

8. Outfits! That is all I have to say about that. I mean, apparently fluffy socks, old gym leggings and a scrappy jumper just don't cut it. Two words to describe me: trend setter.

9. Home made items featured on Pinterest are always worth a laugh aren't they. I especially love the 'have you tried this' (or whatever it is called) section, where you can upload a picture of your attempt. I have never actually done that, but I can see it now... my attempt at baking 'the perfect chocolate cake' would end up looking like it had been rolled over several times by an over-excited Labrador.

10. Exquisitely decorated nails. Thankfully, I prefer a simple, regularly painted nail (or ten), but all of these detailed flowers, geometric shapes and other fan-dangled designs that people are posting just feel all kinds of unachievable. If I even attempted those, unsupervised, it would be like Art Attack has had a resurgence! 

I am sure I am missing so many things here, but I am just highlighting one or two of the things that make me laugh the most because, well, I am a real human you know! What bugs you the most?

I think we all just need to accept that we all have strengths and weaknesses and, if your strengths are not being perfect then good on you, because, quite honestly, who the f**k is anyway! Embrace all of your imperfections with pride because they have made you who you are today; without them, without all the things that have scarred your heart and soul, who would you be really? 
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10 March 2019

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ I am taking part in the March Meet the Maker challenge on my Leaf Lane Studio Insta, this is from the prompt 'less glam side' - my forever messy desk! ^^

Welcome back to another 'Weekly Gratitude' list (are you guys bored of these?!). I really like having something I can look back on that sort of summarises the week gone by and helps me to jog my memory when, months or years down the line, I have a little mooch back through old posts, just to see whether I have got more interesting (usually not!).

Are you as in shock as I am that we are already ten whole days into March? I really don't know how much faster life can speed up! This week has been full of the most extreme ups and downs I have ever experienced in my life; if you didn't read Wednesdays blog post then maybe check it out to get a bit of a grasp on what has been happening. The good news is that things have settled down again a bit; I have an appointment in a couple of weeks for continued help and my medication has been upped a little to help me to get over the worst of it. 

I said on Insta-stories this week how much I get infuriated with having a mental health issue, because I truly love life. I get so excited when I am being creative, or when a new idea strikes me and I am fully 'in it' and inspired to my core for a new project. I work so very hard to stay upbeat, but sometimes it does catch up with me and I am not scared to share that with you guys.

Many people ask me why I share so much (believe me, I only share about 50% of what is actually happening) and my answer to those people is this: because I want to help other sufferers understand that they are not on their own. Because I know, really know, that in the middle of it all you feel like you have no body at all (even though logically know you do). I had a few messages on the back of Wednesdays post, and some from my Instagram story, that shared peoples deepest, most private thoughts. I totally acknowledge that, for them to send those messages must have been hard; to open up to someone is always hard, but by sharing my story as it unfolds, I hope that I am more approachable and people see that I won't judge them (never ever).

One message really struck me; it was from the partner of someone who had said that their other half was feeling extremely low, at times suicidal, and couldn't find the words to express the feelings. Since reading some of my posts they have managed to open up more and articulate their feelings more, which has helped a lot. Those are the reasons why I do it, those are the people who I want to help. I am no expert, apart from simply speaking of my own experiences, but I want to do my bit.

Right, now I have got that off my chest... let's move into this weeks gratitude list! (PS: I have linked last weeks vlog at the end of this post in-case you missed it and my latest one below for you too, please head to YouTube to subscribe to my channel!).



:: I am going to stick to the mental health theme for one more thing! On IG this week I asked your opinions on whether you would buy a pin that was raising money for a mental health charity. Lots of you messaged me back saying 'yes' and I am so happy you think it is a good idea! For those that missed the story, what I am hoping to do is design a simple enamel pin which has some kind of uplifting message on it; it won't shout out 'I am a pin for mental health', but will be sold to raise money for a charity. I will only take back the money paid out to buy the pins and will make the whole process transparent for you guys to see, so you know where the money is going etc. I look forward to getting started on designing it and getting it out there!

:: This week I finally finished reading 'A New Earth' by Eckhart Tolle* and am now thoroughly into reading 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho*, which I am really loving. It is described as a '...simple fable, based on simple truths' where the character meets unassuming spiritual messengers along his journey. When I read a brief synopsis on this book I loved a quote from it, which takes place when the character meets the alchemist and is told '...tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself', how beautiful, and true, is that? 

:: Whilst painting this week I have been listening to a variety of Ted Talks and loved this one by Beverly Willett, which is called 'How to Begin Again'. Some times you hear things that touch your very soul at just the time you need them.


^^ Look at all the cuteness of this little bear, bloody hell I love her so much! ^^

:: I've been so busy recently that I haven't really had time to stop for a second, so on Thursday, when I had dropped back all the boxes I had finished sticking and got back home, I hit a metaphorical wall and made the mistake of laying on the bed 'for a minute'. Two hours later I woke up, with little Gizmo snuggled up against me, her paw holding one of my fingers. I do love that bear so much!

:: This week I have been starting to get my head around some of the new things I want to release for Leaf Lane Studio (did you see the new cards that came out... click the 'my products' tab on this blog to have a look!). I have been sketching out ideas for planner stickers, tear-off note books and a few other things. I am also going to be releasing some new printable art pieces soon. possibly including a version of the quote I sketched in my Bullet Journal this month (see below!).

:: I am really enjoying seeing so many buds appearing on the trees and plants again; the bigger tree we have in the garden, where the bird feeders hang, is starting to show signs of life and that makes me so happy to watch. The birds are getting more and more active too, picking up twigs and things that are far too large for them to carry but somehow managing to get them to their nests anyway! Determined little buggers!



:: I can't really mention this properly, but the person involved will know who they are. In the depth of my despair this week I got the best news ever! It made me SO happy and lifted the grey cloud so much! Sorry to be mysterious but, when the time comes I will share it, for now though this is just a cryptic message over the tinterwebs!

:: Peta and I had a rather impromptu cat mum 'meeting' this week (it wasn't a meeting at all, just a FaceTime!), which was lovely and just what the doctor ordered following my crappy morning and actual doctors appointment. It was nice to have a giggle, although I felt sorry for Peta as I looked rather scrappy! What was meant to be a quick catch up, turned into almost two hours of chatting about cats, podcasts and a million other life admin things! It was very much appreciated though. As a side note, Peta has just posted this instagram post too, which made me tear up with all the feelings - thank you lovely lady xx

:: I have just remembered something very important that I have meant to mention for a couple of weeks but somehow keep forgetting. This is all Peta's fault, but it is amazing, so I am passing it on just in case any of you guys need a laugh! Apparently this is a big thing, but I had never heard of it until a couple of weeks ago; there is a podcast out there called 'My Dad Wrote a Porno' (wait, it gets better). It is literally how it sounds; the basis of the podcast is Jamie Morton, the ever suffering son of the author, 'Rocky Flintstone' (what a pen-name huh!), sits and reads a chapter from his dads 'erotic fiction' every week, with two of his friends for company. They dissect everything 'Rocky' has written and it is literally the funniest thing I have ever listened to. It should be prescribed on the NHS for two reasons 1) happiness therapy and 2) contraception (it is the least sexy thing you will ever hear!). Check it out; there are four books that they read on the podcast, I am on book two now and it really doesn't get any better - but it is very, very funny! Poor guy, just imagine that family Christmas! Totally recommend this for the laughter alone (if you're hoping for actual erotic fiction though, go somewhere else!).

That is going to be all for this week but please remember to pop back on Wednesday for another post and come and follow along on Instagram, which is definitely where I hang out the most! I am off to defrost the freezer now, rock n roll Sundays are totally a thing in this house!

* Amazon affiliate link, if you use this link to purchase the products mentioned I receive a very small amount from Amazon (you do not pay more for the product).

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6 March 2019

RESPECT YOUR JOURNEY


^^ Photo by Matt Holmes on Unsplash ^^

Yes, before anyone asks, I am talking about mental health... again. Why? Because it is playing a huge role in my life right now and also because a) I would like to try and share what is happening in order to help anyone going through something similar and b) writing about it is cathartic (I feel like that should have had a 'so there!' after it!).

Here's the truth: these last few weeks have been so painful and really, really hard to cope with the deep rooted hurt running through all of me; I feel I haven't known myself at all recently. Everything is cyclical, I know that, and I know, like I said in a recent post, that 'this too shall pass', but it has been one of the hardest spells of bad mental health I have had in years. 

Rather than fleeting dark thoughts, they have been like giant waves, knocking me over again and again and I have often felt like I am drowning in the sheer hell of it all. But, and there has to be a 'but' because you guys know I am not about wallowing in the crap of it, I am still okay, I am still standing strong against it and still being as stubborn as ever, refusing to let it take me down.

The stupid, and somewhat annoyingly ironic part about my mental health and severe depression/anxiety, is that I bloody love life, I really do; I have so many things I want to achieve, so many dreams, goals and places I want to visit some day, and the last thing I want is to feel those extreme dark thoughts, those ones that say 'you shouldn't be here', those ones that taunt the crap out of me until I am so exhausted that all I can do is drag myself into the safety of bed until it all subsides.

But that is exactly what I do; take to my bed and stay there until the worst of it has buggered off, then I try over again to be a 'normal' human; sometimes this involves faking a smile, a joke or just managing eye contact, but it is something and it eventually fades away again.

The things I have quickly realised I am terrible at is asking for help, and telling someone how I am really feeling inside. If asked if I am okay, at best I will say 'yeah, I'm fine' and at worst I will say 'I'm not having a good day today'; the latter should be translated into 'actually, I feel suicidal today and would really appreciate a hug right now'. 

All that somewhat miserable stuff to one side, I wanted to talk a bit about some things I am trying to work on to help through these strange days.

You guys probably know that I have been reading Eckhart Tolle's 'A New Earth' for about 100 years now (it has taken a while, but I have about five pages to go!!!!). In a lot of the book he discuss the human ego and its affect on our lives, in that we are often living in the past (thinking about something that has happened to us, getting angry, upset or frustrated at it and causing ourselves pain) or we are thinking about something that is about to happen or may happen in our future (building stories, usually exaggerated ones at that, around things that haven't even happened at all). His lesson is to try, as much as possible, to live in the now, acknowledging that the past and future will still overlap, but that the 'now' is really all we have. This is true, but bloody hard to get to grips with! I am trying to think about this when things get particularly difficult because anxiety tends to take you to places that are very good at telling stories that are sheer nonsense and, if you're not careful, something that started off as a small thing in your mind, turns into an utter devastating life event. 

Isn't it nuts how our own minds can do that to us? I find that really crazy; that we can sabotage our thoughts so much that we can make ourselves believe something that hasn't even happened will happen. 

So, I am practicing meditation where possible and trying to learn the art of 'filing' things out the way so that they don't cast themselves as lead roles in the play of my mind. I am trying to force myself to carry on with some kind of work even when I can feel super low and like just laying! I am trying to step outside at my really dark moments and just take some really deep, conscious breaths, focusing on just that one thing, and remembering how amazing my body is to be there, breathing without me needing to think about it all the time.

Mental illness is a total fu**wit; it is the bloody worst thing, but remember to try. Try and try and try again, because giving into it is not an option. I promise you (really promise you) that time is a healer, as is sleep... lots and lots of sleep.

Don't be scared to go to the doctors either, I am heading back there this week just to update him on this new, ever so exciting chapter of life (lucky doc!), but it is important to ask for help when it is needed. 

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3 March 2019

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ Looking over towards St Michaels Mount from the coast path to Cudden Point ^^

This week has flown by and it has been a busy one for me, but also a really lovely one too. Tuesday was my birthday (catch up with the post I wrote about turning 38 right here) and the day was filled with flowers, nature and too much sugar; more on that soon.

Before I launch into this weeks list, I just wanted to mention that I have now put my new cards into my store on Leaf Lane Studio, so head over and order yours before they sell out (you can also find my products right here on the blog too); I have had some orders already and I couldn't be happier or more grateful for the support you guys give me. I am also running an offer on both of my downloadable calendars for the month of March; use the code 'HAPPYMARCH' at the checkout to receive 30% off, making the calendar just £3.50! Click here to head to the website!

Alright my loves, let's jump into what has been a busy but wonderful week shall we?

:: Let's talk about my birthday first! I started the day with a workout, which included hitting a PB on rack pulls of 100kg (sorry mum - she hates that!), and also may have involved some millionaires shortbread, made by Rory with a very secret recipe that no one is allowed to know (apparently... I have tried to get it but it is worse then trying to get information out of the cat). Powered by all the sugar I had stuffed down my face that morning I decided to head out for a 'stroll', which turned into a seven mile coast path walk hike/military style trek, with me running up hills like a possessed mountain goat and challenging my body to the point where my feet were swollen and I could barely walk for a good few hours afterward (sexy image I know!). I was spoilt with some lovely gifts from some lovely people and flowers too, so I was very lucky and very grateful. The evening was spent eating a Marks and Spencers meal and laying down to rest my very painful feet! (Vlog of said 'trek' coming soon... you guys will just see the nice views though, don't worry!).



:: On Friday I met up with my wonderful friend Kimberley and her husband too, over at Birdies Bistro in Hayle. We had fish finger sandwiches (we are classy birds you know!) and caught up on everything that has been going on since we last saw one another. I was given another birthday present too; a fab book by Brene Brown, and a really cute little t-shirt, which I love so much (thank you lovely lady!).

:: This week I went over to the hotel I am due to start work in this month and chatted for a bit about hours and uniform; it was lovely to go there again, it really is so beautiful. I am looking forward to starting and learning the ropes (that's always the nerve wracking bit isn't it!) and getting stuck into my new part time job! It will be wonderful to have some consistency five days a week, all I need to learn to do is apply more focus on the tasks I have to do for the blog and business in the afternoons (and the thousands of other things I have planned!). I am really keen to get started though; I will let you guys know how I am going! Thank you for the messages some of you have sent over on my Instagram, congratulating me on getting the job, you are all so lovely to me.



:: Speaking of learning how to organise things better, I have been obsessively listening to Holly's podcast, 'Blog It, Boss It Radio' (Holly owns 'A Branch of Holly', so you need to check her out if you are looking for business/blogging tips and advice that is super actionable) which has such amazing episodes generally, but I listened to one yesterday morning which I totally clicked with. It was episode 14, 'How to Choose One Thing to Focus On', and it was so interesting and helpful. I also loved her episode on the importance of email lists and how to really get the best out of them (episode 13). If you are looking for help be sure to check this podcast out, because you can write notes and actually feel like you can apply the strategies, whereas some of the advice out there just feels too full of jargon and seems unobtainable.

:: Last night, whilst I stuck over a thousand boxes together, we watched Bohemiam Rhapsody*; holy crap guys, what a film. I am sure you must have seen it, so let me know what you thought in the comments, but I woke up in the night singing Queen songs in my head and just thinking about how bloody beautiful that film is. I am not a massive Queen fan, but I was captivated within the first ten seconds. It pulled on every single emotion, and I was just about holding it all together until one line 'Freddie Mercury' (played by Rami Malek) delivered in a moment of distress to explain his drug use, '...being human is a condition that requires a little anesthesia'; well that was it, I literally burst out crying. I was doing so well until that single line, it resonated so much (although, let me just clarify... I don't do drugs kids!).



:: It has been so mixed, weather wise, over in West Cornwall this week; you can see from my photos, taken on Tuesday, that it was like summer, but as I sit and type this post today we have a full on storm going on and the wind is crazy. With the nicer weather, earlier in the week, cam a whole lot of activity in the garden from our feathered friends! They were enjoying the little bird bath (previously a large saucer from a pot!), and there was quite the queue of sparrows and a black bird waiting for their turn whilst one had a very long and luxurious wash! There were also a lot of gorgeous Chaffinches in the tree at the bottom of the garden this week; they looked like they were having a little meeting there and were busy chattering away to each other! 

:: This morning I managed to read a substantial amount of  'A New Earth'*, by Eckhart Tolle, the book Kimberley lent me in the summer that has taken so long for me to read! I am thinking I will actually finish it today or tomorrow! I still stand by it being a must-read for anyone who is looking for something to open their eyes to seeing things differently, to 'awakening' and to help understand the speed of the human existence as we all know it. It makes you think, it helps you to understand things more and helps you realise why certain thoughts occur and patterns of behaviour arise as a result. Yes, it is not a fast paced read (clearly!), but it is wonderful.

I have a 'to-do' list as long as my arm today, so I will love you and leave you right there, but I will be back on Wednesday with another post and will be putting up a vlog very soon (maybe tomorrow!), so make sure you are subscribed over on YouTube too! Have a great rest of day!

xoxo

* Amazon affiliate link

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26 February 2019

38... LET'S DO THIS!



Today I celebrate 38 years flying through the universe on this tiny dot we call Earth; well done mum for having me lifted out of you, which I am pretty sure was nowhere near as easy as I made it sound (I am picturing that scene from The Lion King when Simba gets lifted up on the edge of the cliff... that's totally how they do caesareans right?!). I always like to pop a birthday-related post up so I have something to remind me how the year has been, so if you want to humor me and have a read let's go!

I want to reflect a little on some of the things that life has brought up over the last year, in a very similar sense to what I did last year, which, now that I go back to the post, could be totally relevant for this year in the most part! Let's face it, I am still an awkward human in most social situations, battling between being part extrovert and part introvert (just think Chandler Bing and his 'I-must-try-and-say-something-when-there-is-silence' dodgy humor and you'll get it!). I have way too many thoughts rushing through my brain all at once, at any given time, so I never really complete any list, because I am always adding to it! I am also the worlds worst at sitting and doing nothing: if a film is on I have to be working or writing or sketching... doing anything but simply sitting (this is not a good thing and needs working on!). I'll save the rest of my fabulous quirks for the end of the post, I don't want to peak too soon, for now let's chat about the bigger areas of life shall we?

S P I R I T U A L I T Y

This has certainly meant a lot more to me in the last year, not in a specific way at all, but I have been a lot more consistent in how I practice the things that help keep me level headed, calm and content. I have found some books and podcasts that really resonate with me and ditched all the things that were just creating 'noise' in my head, rather than actually helping me become a more balance human!

Having certain things I do daily/most days, such as angel cards, journaling, reading certain books, listening to interesting podcasts and meditating or walking meditation really help me to realign with what matters, try to bring a bit of inner peace and tune back into my intuition (which is one of my 'things' - I have always been very intuitively led with most life choices, especially over the last five or so years).

M E N T A L  H E A L T H

This has been a huge deal over the last twelve months especially; even though I have been suffering with something mental health related since around 14/15 years old. I am a big believe in cycles of change and I think that, right now, my mental health is going through a shift; I won't say it is easy (it is ridiculously painful some days), but I know that there is a deeper reason for it and that, when I emerge from this shift (hopefully soon), I will be able to reflect and realise why it had to happen. With age has come the realisation that nothing happens without reason and, as that famous quote says 'this too shall pass' (thanks to Peta for reminding me of that one in my hour(s) of need last Friday!).

If any of you guys are fellow MH sufferers always try to see the positive in life; start by writing down the little things you are grateful for every single day, and before you know it you will start to see more and more things. I know this can be super hard on the worst days, but try your best or, if it is really bad, just read previous lists and remember what made you smile before. 



 C O N F I D E N C E

My confidence has grown in so many ways this year (despite my mental health struggles). The key to it has been just focusing on my own sh*t! Simple. There are days where I lose all the confidence (usually hormone or MH related) but I have learnt to ride the storm and remember that it will pass by. Thinking back to how I felt about my business a year ago has made me realise how much strength and self belief I have gained. I am 100% confident in my brand and what, as a business owner, I believe to be the ethos of Leaf Lane Studio; and because of that belief (even though I have a long way to go) I know I can make it work. I work hard at it, I do a lot to teach myself new things and to try and be the best I can be as a person, in business and in my personal life; it doesn't always go to plan because, hey, we all f**k up don't we, but I try my best and push myself all the time because I know I am capable of more.

The big area of confidence I have worked on this last year, which is a continuing battle for me is my body image and relationship with food. I worked with Peta, and her wonderful business 'Nourishing Soulfully', on food mentoring sessions (I'm not so confident I have called the sessions the right thing, forgive me Peta!) which really, really helped me, but I have a lot of work still to do.

I am definitely getting there in many ways; my strength increase in the gym has given me greater confidence in my body and its ability to do hard things (in-fact, this morning I managed a 100kg rack pull, which is a personal best for me!); the encouragement I get from the people I train around and with has helped soooo much. My body has been through a lot and is still in one piece (mostly!), and I want to give it less of a hard time. That will hopefully have happened by this time next year; I will keep working on it.

O T H E R  T H I N G S . . . 

I have some of the most amazing female friendships I have ever had in my life right now. I am not someone who has a huge group of girl-friends that all meet up, we are scattered all over the place, but I hold them all close to my heart and they support me through so much (even though I can be impossible to get personal stuff out of some days and get told off when they eventually learn I've been suffering in silence!). Helena, my lobster, you are bloomin' wonderful you beautiful human, Peta, fellow cat mum and long suffering bike-widow... I appreciate our friendship so much. Kimberley, my Octo (how have I got two sea-creatures as friends?!), you are such a wonderful light in my life and I love our chats over salads cake (not that you actually get a word in). Kat... you support me through everything and I am soooo grateful for you honey. CB, you are bloody bonkers (I can't write about you because it may be blocked by the people that run the interwebs!), need I say more? I love all you guys and, if I haven't mentioned you then it means I have a terrible memory and I am high as a kite on millionaires shortbread right now so please forgive me! (This well meaning paragraph may end badly for me!).

I can honestly say that, whilst life is certainly not at its easiest right now, I am feeling more capable and proud of what I have achieved than ever before; it is not materialism that lights me up at all, it is all the small things that happen throughout the week and being able to learn and unfold more as a person; those are the things make me happy. I look at the things that happen in life through totally different eyes to how I used to and, even when times seem really hard, I try everything I can to learn the lesson from what has been shown to me through the experience I have had. If that sounds a little hippy then, yeah, maybe it is, but it's who I am, and at 38 I am proud of who I am, even some of the hard things I've faced, because they have brought me to the very place in life I am at right now, and that is pretty wonderful.

Here's to another year ahead and, boy do I plan to make it count! Stay tuned for the next chapter!

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