20 May 2016

FIVE THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR THIS WEEK #52

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^^This image is from Pinterest & also happens to be what I will be doing on Sunday, post-gym^^

Another crazy week down, one more to go until half term strikes...yes! I decided to celebrate my amazing tiredness last night by rubbing my ear and my eye... post chilli chopping. Oopsie! Not recommended people, not at all.

Let's get straight into this post. 

Here are the things I have been most grateful for this week...

1. I am nearly two weeks in to my new fitness plan and so far, so good! I am down 3kgs and a small percentage of body fat, which is awesome and, other than today, my energy levels are amazing! I have finally gotten used to counting macros and cooking/prepping endless meals and the two squares (20g) of 85% dark chocolate I programme into My Fitness Pal every morning, ready for my evening snack, is keeping me going!

2. This week I have been getting all musically nostalgic. It is highly embarrassing telling you what with, but I am going to anyway! I rediscovered Busted's album 'A Present for Everyone' on Spotify, and have been playing it to death (okay, okay, I also bought it on iTunes!). Sometimes it isn't about the people singing the songs, but about what memories they bring back! The songs are as cheesy as hell, but they make me laugh, and remind me of the days I used to work in the gym! 

3. A Boden delivery that actually all fit me! Amazing. Not so good for the bank balance perhaps. I will try and do a mini-haul on my Snapchat this weekend if you are interested. My username is 'lucycarterart' - so add me on and we can chat!

4. Protein pancakes. They sound like they may taste gross, just by the fact that they have the word 'protein' in them, but rest assured, they are wonderful. Magic in-fact! The ones I make are fairly high in calories per portion, but the up-side is that I know what is going into them and they fit into my macros (yep, I am one of the people that says that these days!).

5. Getting time to sit out in the garden with the hubby, which never happens because I am always running out the door or back in the door and up to plan world domination or something. It felt strange to stop, which is strange in itself isn't it?!

In other news:
I cannot stop listening to the track 'Hey Laura' by Gregory Porter. He is great, but most of his music isn't quite my style, but I heard this specific song and LOVED it so much I bought it immediately on iTunes / I am currently lusting after so much sportswear... it is my new love for the programme I am doing (and the amount of time I am in the gym kind of warrants more of a selection huh?!) / In a few days my business website will go live with a holding page (no content) but you will be able to leave an email address to sign up to be the first to know when launch day is coming! I am so excited but also super nervous! In the meantime you can search for 'leaflanestudio' on Instagram and keep an eye open for what is happening! 

Come on down to the comments and tell me what you have been up to this week! I'd love to know :-)

13 May 2016

FIVE THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR THIS WEEK #51

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If this week had a work, it would be 'focused'. I have been super-focused all week on my goals and dreams and am feeling good for having stuck to the things I set myself. I even got out of a warm bed at 5am to go to the gym this morning (I usually get up at 5am for work, but this morning I didn't have to do that!). I joined the eager queue of people waiting for the door to open so we could all pile in and get our workouts done and, let me tell you, it felt all sorts of good driving home at 7.45am, knowing that I had done it!

Onto some of the other things I have been grateful for this week:

1. Fields of bright yellow all around. This time of year may not be so good for hay-fever sufferers but I love the fields of rape seed that are scattered all around at the moment. The other night, driving home from training, the contrast between the grey, stormy old sky and the vivid yellow fields was beautiful.

2. A work get together! One of my favourite work people left for good this week and we had a really lovely, more relaxed day at work to give her a good send off. In the evening we went to a pub and had a good old giggle, which was much needed for all of us sitting around the table! It has been a pretty full on school year thus far and I think getting out with work buddies makes you remember that it's not all work, work, work! I appreciated those few hours immensely.

3. Willpower. If you follow me on Snapchat (my username is 'lucycarterart') you will know that, last Saturday, I started a bit of a health and fitness challenge. I am now one week in and I have not slipped of the track once! I can be pretty darn determined when I want to be... some may call it stubborn! Either way, so far I am doing okay! I am planning on weighing myself tomorrow, although it is not about body weight for me, just about fitting in to clothes and dropping some body fat really. I even managed to avoid all the cake that was in work this week :-) *pats self on back!*

4. This Being Boss podcast episode all about journalling, featuring Katie Dalebout. I was big on diary keeping as a child/teen, I still have some tucked away somewhere at home, but as much as they make you cringe, they can be a useful tool for self-discovery (if you are totally open when you write on the page of course!). I love writing, and have only stopped journalling because of time constraints really, but I have been inspired to start again. Have a listen to the podcast episode for lots of ideas to get started or for a variety of different perspectives on how to use a journal.

5. My new trainers (finally!). I must of tried on a thousand pairs (okay, four!), but in all seriousness, why are trainers more like socks these days? For someone with wimpy ankles, like me, I need support and something that can look after me whilst I am leaping around the gym like a mad woman possessed! I ended up with the Nike Air Theas, and I adore them!

In other news:
I posted a bit of a long post about bravery verses perfection this week... did you see it? Tell me what you think in the comments below the post / I have gotten slightly addicted to the BBC drama 'Undercover' and have been binge watching the episodes to catch up on iPlayer. I don't think I actually understood what was going on until episode three but, in my defense, I was painting at the same time! / I have been loving the May Photography Challenge I am doing on my Instagram! Jump on over there to see what I have been posting / The hunt commences for suitable summer clothes. I sat at work the other day, sweating my... ears off and just thought 'holy moly, I have no summer-appropriate clothes really... I will never get organised will I?!

I hope you guys have had an incredible week and have an even more wonderful weekend. Come and have a chat in the comments as always!

12 May 2016

CHOOSE BRAVERY OVER PERFECTION

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^^Quote taken from podcast Raise Your Hand & Say Yes Episode 86 | Draw by me^^

*Apologies in advance for a bit of a long post!*

I've been a bit quiet on the talking-about-my-business-to-be front recently and, whilst that is largely down to being rushed off my feet, it is also because of something that has been coming up for me recently, psychologically speaking, over the last few weeks. The thing is, because I spent some time writing posts, in this very space, about 'not comparing yourself to others' and 'staying positive', it felt somewhat hypocritical to suddenly write something that contradicts previous thoughts. But then I figured that we are all human, and we are all susceptible to having times where, no matter what, we just feel a bit... overwhelmed by things. Also, sharing these thoughts can sometimes be useful to you (I hope!) so I thought I would drop my recent brain-funk here for you! (It ends well though!).

Since having coaching with the very lovely Gemma Sands last year, I have gotten far better at recognising something that could be potentially harmful to my progress/motivation and, therefore, I am less likely to let the small things wear me down then I was before. 

However...just because I recognise something, it doesn't always mean it is water off a ducks back!

Last weekend I found myself in a state of total creative frustration and full on anxiety. What started as a teeny negative thought in my mind about my capability to do one little thing, soon snowballed into thoughts like 'I am totally inadequate compared to other people', 'I just don't have enough talent/skills to do this' and 'why am I trying to do this, I can't do this!'. 

Why did this happen? 

For the most part it happened because I am going through a huge learning curve in setting up a business, which I have never done before and, for some unknown and totally illogical reason, I expect myself to know everything now if not sooner! I place the expectation on myself that everything I produce must be 'perfect' first time, even if it is something that I have never done before.

Having sat back and thought about things for a while I popped on a couple of podcasts to help distract my busy mind and, as often happens when you throw your troubles out to the universe, the first two podcasts that played on my list of saved episodes were covering the very subject I was struggling with.

By coincidence, the first podcast was one of Gemma's, from Free to Flourish Radio, titled 'How to step out of your own way'. In this episode, Gemma talks about ways in which we hold ourselves back. When I listened to her listing out things we all say to ourselves at a time of negativity, it really resonated with me! Gemma is fab at providing positive techniques to help turn around these thoughts and remain as positive and productive as possible.  However, it was the second podcast I listened to, by Tiffany Han, called 'Letting Go of Perfection', that made me jot down the quote 'Choose Bravery Over Perfection'. Like Gemma, Tiffany was discussing the idea that having of a vision of perfection was what was preventing us stepping forward and getting out of our own way, rather than having the dreamy outcome people expect it to have (it is actually very destructive and paralysing).

Something that she said really hit me, because I know it something that I do; she talked about a difference often (but not exclusively) seen between men and women, when reacting to something that just has not gone right in a process. The majority of the time, where a man may say 'something has gone wrong with the process I am doing here' a women will often say 'something is wrong with me' (because a process isn't working). Hands up to this guys, I often say this, mostly in my own head, but I do it! Please don't think I have us ladies down as some kind of weaker sex here because, I promise you that is not the case at all, but I do agree that a lot of us can look to our skills from a personal aspect and see something we know less about as a weakness in our personalities.

The thing I was trying to do recently was really frustrating me. That morning, I had taught myself to do something fairly complex, and was super happy with myself. Move on to that same day, but a few hours later, I was trying to do something else, and failing to get it to do what I wanted. My thoughts turned to 'why are you even trying to do this?' / 'you are useless at this!' / 'everyone else is so much better that you are'... even Joe said to me 'but you were really happy with what you had done earlier, you are just learning something new!' - point proven!

This may all sound very dramatic and, yes, it may well be, but that is because it is very important to me, hence the ridiculous pressure I placed on myself. The lesson I have learnt from my weekend of technical breakdown (and two awesome podcasts)? Perfection is a myth. It doesn't exist, not really. We are fed the manufactured idea of perfection, so we strive for it, but it is not even a real thing!

To do list:
- stop judging yourself based on the success and achievement of others.
- look only to your own journey and remain goal focused.
- put energy in to what makes you happy (and your own ideal).
- work as hard as you can and don't give up! (Don't be afraid to ask for help either).
- self care is key (this is something Gemma said to me over and over again...I hate it when someone is right!).

(If you made it to the end you get a gold star! Thanks for reading!)

6 May 2016

FIVE THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR THIS WEEK #50

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{Image sourced from Pinterest | Original found here}

I was planning on putting up a bit of a different post today, but figured that I would throw that one on here on Sunday, as I know many of you like this regular Friday one! I will keep the negative point of this week brief and say this: my tonsillitis is back. Can you believe it? Tonsils 2 / Lucy 0. Other than that though, it has been a pretty good week; let's focus on all the things I have been grateful for this week (minus gammy tonsils!).

So, let's dig into this week shall we? 

1. Finally having a few hours free to meet up with my lovely buddy Helena. I have mentioned her here countless times before (we are actually friends because of this blog!). We get together every now and again for some dinner and I always leave feeling like my face is tired from all the giggling. This week was no exception. Our main focus of conversation? Holy socks, pants (mens pants specifically) and smooth ankles (if I told you I'd have to kill you, sorry guys!). It goes to show that sometimes you meet people, via the internet, who turn into life-long friends and who are equally as loopy as you (sorry H, you know it's true though!).

2. Pressies from Euro Disney! The Year 8 students went on a trip, with the teachers obviously (!), to Disneyland Paris last weekend. I got bought two cute presents. A little cat key-ring, Marie from the film 'The Aristocats', and, more randomly, a Minnie Mouse skipping rope! Love them both!

3. Warm croissants. As I start my new training tomorrow (with or without tonsillitis damn it!), I allowed myself a special treat on Wednesday morning, when a colleague brought in a warm tin of treats! I haven't had a croissant for ages! It was so good! 

4. Amazingly inspirational women. I am not going to write more about what I am talking about here, as that is going to be in the post I put up on Sunday. Needless to say, the universe sometimes hands you what you need to feed your soul, right when you need it. Stay tuned for Sunday for more on that!

5. Photo challenges! I saw, on Pinterest, a cool May Photo Challenge, and decided to do it on Instagram for this month and, although I am only a few days in, it is giving me a nice creative challenge and making me think outside the box of pictures I usually post. It has also meant that a couple of my IG buddies have jumped into the challenge with me, which is all kinds of awesome. Helen, from Seasidehelen and I are basically twins, posting similar things and I am loving the conversations that sparks up with these types of posts. Head on over to my Instagram for more!

I hope you guys have all had an amazing week and have an even more wonderful weekend. Don't forget to add my username (lucycarterart) to Snapchat, if you have it, to see some very random stuff during the week! Also, I would love you forever if you would give my Facebook Page a like too :-)

29 April 2016

TAKING STOCK | APRIL 2016

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{Image sourced from Pinterest}

It is hard to imagine we are going into May when there are giant hailstones and sleet hitting the ground outside the window, yet here we are, at the end of another month.

As we enter a lovely Bank Holiday weekend (*insert happy dance here), I thought it would be nice to recap the month and remember what has been going on, as it all passed by in such a flash! Let me know in the comments what has been the high-point of your month and link your Taking Stock if you do it on your blog too!

Making | lots of hot water bottles at 3am because of a month of illness.
Cooking | healthy salads (recipe to follow next month!).
Drinking | a little rose wine (unheard of, but it happened this month!).
Reading | endless tutorials and tips for Adobe Illustrator! (I know, exciting times huh?!)
Wanting | 'Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration' - I have seen this a few times recently and really want to get my hands on a copy!
Looking | a little 'fluffy'. For some reason, recently, my hair is all static and fluffy. Why? I have no idea! Any tips?
Playing | James Bay 'Scars', lots of Michael Jackson and my usual business-related podcasts!
Deciding | whether to embark on a new fitness challenge (I have now decided and will fill you in shortly!)
Wishing | this crazy winter weather would give up! It's almost May for heavens sake (it is actually snowing whilst I am typing this post!).
Enjoying | finalising my business branding thanks to a kick up the backside!
Watching | (don't laugh!) glute activating videos on YouTube. Why? It's a long story! I won't bore you with training-related things right now!
Waiting | patiently for the next half term.
Liking | having lots of lovely conversations with fellow creatives on Snapchat and Instagram (come and say hi! My Snapchat username is lucycarterart)
Wondering | when I will stop feeling so exhausted! Is this just how it is going to be forever now I am over 35? Answers on a postcard.
Loving | chocolate digestives a little too much this month.
Hoping | the iPod I take to the gym isn't broken. It keeps cutting out... it probably is broken huh?
Marvelling | once again, over the amazing support from wonderful work colleagues.
Needing | every month I say this... new trainers!! I still haven't got new ones. I really need to find some I like guys. To be fair, there are plenty I am lusting over, but why are they a small fortune?!
Smelling | the dregs of my perfume... I need another bottle asap!
Wearing | sportswear... a lot (except for trainers obviously!).
Following | the cat into the garden to see what on Earth she has been staring at for days on end. I still have no idea!
Noticing | a man drinking from a china mug in his very posh car, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Is it me, or is that a bit strange?
Knowing | I need to move quicker with my ideas and stop procrastinating so much.
Thinking | a lot about pancakes.
Feeling | sad that one of my favourite people is leaving work in a couple of weeks. Syb, you will be missed A LOT!
Opening | an ASOS parcel and loving way too much of it! 
Giggling | at work after totally mishearing someone and thinking they had said something very rude, when they had actually said 'blueberry cake'. Probably best I don't go into it!

23 April 2016

FIVE THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR THIS WEEK #49

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Another week has reached a close and, I have to say, it has been an emotional one. 2016 has been a year of loss for so many people (and I am not just talking about the talent that has been called away recently). Weeks like this make me think about the bigger picture of life and certainly help me to re-evaluate things and see things with more gratitude and thanks. I am being purposefully vague here as the loss I refer to this week is not mine to discuss, but you cannot stand by and witness others hurt without it touching you.

Aside from the sadness around this week (and the illness, because there is also a lot of that too) let me share some of the other things that have kept me chugging along too the beat of the clock...this is what I have been grateful for this week.

1. Getting an ASOS parcel that is in one piece. I did a big order last week, you know the type, where you order everything in two sizes and have a heart attack when you see the final amount? Anyway, when it arrived (three hours late from the one hour slot) the poor delivery driver had been caught in a ford and the van had got stuck and flooded with water. All my box (and everyone else's parcels in the van) were soggy and falling apart. He still brought it to me - just in case! I obviously didn't sign for it and ASOS were fairly speedy in sorting it. The disappointing thing was that a fair amount of the items I had ordered were out of stock when I had to put it through again, so I have missed out, but still, I got some bits through yesterday, they were dry and everything!

2. Chocolate digestives dipped in tea. After a hard day on Thursday, this was mighty wonderful and should be prescribed on the NHS!

3. Sleep. I didn't have a full nights sleep until last night, thanks to the beauty of tonsillitis (yucky plague that it is!). Last night, however, I crashed out and basically didn't wake up until about 9am this morning. It was heaven on a stick. I am just not someone who can properly function without sleep, it destroys me!

4. This week, after quite a few weeks of listening to it endlessly on Spotify, I bought James Bay's album, 'Chaos and the Calm', and I love it so much. My three absolute favourite songs right now are 'Let It Go', 'Scars' (which is so beautiful), and 'Move Together'. I must admit, I prefer his slower stuff to the lively songs, but it is a good album and definitely something I have been listening to  constantly since I got it.

5. Star Wars arriving through the front door! That is what I will be doing this evening if any one is interested! :-)

How has your week been?

(PS: Don't forget to add me to your Snapchat by searching my username lucycarterart if you fancy keeping up with what happens during the week!)

21 April 2016

EVERY CLOUD...

Arriving in Salisbury at 8am on Sunday morning, to queue at the emergency medical centre with tonsillitis, wasn't the greatest way to spend my day off. But when it turned out to be the most peaceful, bird-song-filled stroll around the cathedral grounds I've ever had, it didn't seem that bad after all.

If you have ever been to the cathedral you will know how beautiful it is. The square that surrounds it is incredibly pretty, with stunning houses and, at this time of year, the most gorgeous blossom trees and spring flowers. It really is something to see.

Given that it was early on a Sunday morning, and the shops weren't even open yet, there weren't many people around, other than those going to the morning service at the cathedral, so it was truly serene and a perfect time to linger around looking at the architecture and the exhibition of sculptures, titled 'Relationships', currently being displayed by artist Sophie Ryder.

I wanted to keep this post all about the images, so I won't waffle on, but if you want to see the exhibition, you have until 3rd July (I really recommend it, especially the cloisters sculptures, which are so very breathtaking). See the Salisbury Cathedral website for lots more information.

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