21 May 2017

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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Happy Sunday lovely peeps! Here we are on the 21st May (already) and that means I only have ten days of my YouTube challenge left. 'Every day in May' has been pretty awesome but has taken its toll on me! I have not stopped working until 9.30-10.30pm on 90% of the evenings and, to be totally transparent, my business 'to-do' list has suffered... BUT I have learnt so much and chatted to so many people that it was more than worth it. When I discussed the prospect of launching Leaf Lane Studio in June, I was always intending to be flexible about it... so it may be July but, if that is the case, then so be it, you know? It has to be right and I am doing it... this year! That is pretty awesome!

Onto the things I am grateful for this week:

:: This week I have managed to struggle through some fairly hefty cravings and, whilst I have certainly not met my low carb macro target all week, I have been much better, and that is something worth mentioning!

:: On the topic of health and fitness, I managed a set of full press ups on Thursday! I haven't even attempted them in ages (mostly for fear of making a total fool of myself!) but I managed a full set and then a few at the start of the other sets, before dropping to my knees and doing the easier (but still tough) alternatives!

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:: I am grateful that I said 'yes' to taking on a little commission piece this week. I always get anxiety around new things but the lovely lady who asked is so super-sweet that I jumped at the chance to do it for her! Once it is done, and when she has given it to the person I am doing it for, I will show you guys a picture! Then, if anyone wants something similar... I will say 'hell yes!' On a serious note though, I am making the effort to try and do things that will challenge me more as it is good for me, so watch this space!

:: If you watched yesterdays vlog (linked below) then you will know Joe and I went to Godolphin House, a stunning National Trust property ridiculously close to where we live (15 minutes tops). I am definitely going to be putting up the photos in a separate blog post, but I wanted to mention how amazing it was to wonder around the grounds and how crazy-yummy the Victoria sponge was too... this certainly was not in my macros but, when in Rome and all that ('My name is Lucy, and I am addicted to Vicky sponge!'). Stay tuned for Wednesdays post to see more about this little adventure!

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:: Part and parcel of having put up way more YouTube content then normal is getting more comments and, if you know me pretty well, you will know by now that I have my days where I am a total wimp when it comes to reading them. The fear I can sometimes experience is insane. Thankfully this stupidity of mine is no where near as intense as it used to be or I think I would be rocking back and forth in a corner by now! You guys are bloody fantastic though and I have had such wonderful feedback on the things I have been asking you all as well as just very sweet and genuine comments about other bits and pieces. You need to know that these never go unnoticed and that I always appreciate the things you take the time out of your day to write. It means the whole world.

:: You know my stance on trying to love your body, regardless of shape and size, and when I stumbled across a video by the channel StyleLikeU on YouTube, featuring plus size model Barbie Ferreira, a young, feisty and beautiful American girly, talking about fat-shaming in the modelling industry I got all fired up again. If you haven't ever seen any of their 'undressing' videos then you certainly should check them out. They talk about some really brave and compelling subjects, all around beauty and image.

:: This week has seen our Salvia spring into life (the plant we got from The Eden Project), it's little bee-friendly flowers, are starting to open up and I cannot wait to see the little 'bumblers' (Joes cute word for our bee friends) hovering around it!

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:: This week I thought I would mention a couple of things I am into right now... the first one is the Coldplay single (featuring The Chainsmokers) 'Something Just Like This', I love it so much right now; it never fails to make me smile! The other thing I wanted to mention is a film that Joe and I watched only last night, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. We are crazy-behind with films because it came out ages ago, but we caught up with it on Netflix. It is one of those films that a) you cannot lose concentration on for one minute without feeling lost, b) need to just accept what is happening and trust it will come together in the end and c) make sure you have a lots of drinks and snacks prepared because it is long. That said it was a cracking film, but somewhat disturbing in many ways. Scrap that actually; very disturbing in a lot of ways. As someone who has the attention span of a toddler when it comes to watching films, take it from me it is worth the watch (and the concentration!).

On that note we have reached the end of todays post...boo! But if you have some time to spare then why not keep on scrolling and catch up with some of this weeks vlogs? If you haven't subscribed to my channel yet I would love it if you did! Just click right here and then click on 'subscribe'!






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17 May 2017

WHO AM I?

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Let's talk about aging...

I know, I know, I am only 36 and that most certainly isn't 'over the hill', but I am starting to notice things about myself, both physically and mentally, that are, let's say... 'challenging' me somewhat, so I thought I would have a chat with you guys about it today.

Watching me look in the mirror at my face (something I have never particularly enjoyed by the way) would appear, to the outsider, like I am taking myself through one of those complicated facial muscle routines (you know the ones?!). These days, I often find myself contorting my poor old chops into all kinds of positions to see whether this wrinkle or that wrinkle is 'still there' or to try and discover where my confused old hormones have decided to sprout a new, ever so random, hair on my chin (wtf is that about?). Some days, I even manage to convince myself I have grown jowls and stare intensely at my face, poking and prodding, wondering how I can get rid of them. Other days I spring into the bathroom, wash my face, put my moisturiser on and think 'you look alright today' and, somehow, all the above issues are not there anymore. Then, and this is a big one for me, there is the issue of (*insert horror music here*) natural lighting. The amount of times I have filmed a clip for a vlog or something, watched it back and then sworn to all the angels that I am never, ever, stepping out during the day again. 

Now, obviously, everything I have just written was done so with a sense of humor, but the fact is that my body is changing and it is something I have been noticing creep in over the last couple of years. I am lucky in many ways; I have good genes (anyone who saw my Instagram picture of my mum, who is 73 years old, can see that I am lucky there) but, and this can't just be me, getting older and seeing your body shift is hard.

I have zero issues with age within itself. I am loving my thirties and would never want to go back but I am merely talking about acceptance. Acceptance of the nutty, frizzy, 'I will grow out of your head in every possible direction' grey hairs, the random outbursts of teenage spots, which seem to laugh and say 'ha ha ha, you thought I was gone, but I'm not... you're older, but I am still here!' and the body which creeks and aches a little more every year (I actually have to sit on the side of the bed and mobilise these days before stepping out into the world!).

But, all that said, along with the physical strangeness, comes a lot more mental clarity about who I am. I may not be quite settled into my body and, to be quite honest, I am not sure that will ever happen (I am working on it), but I am super confident about who I am now and, more importantly, I don't care what people think. In my teenage years and all throughout my twenties and early thirties, I tried to make myself be who I thought I was meant to be. I was afraid to give my opinion, I was scared to admit that I am spiritual and want to develop that side of me. I didn't want to dress in what I wanted to wear, for fear of what people would think. I had no self-belief whatsoever and felt like I wasn't true to myself at all. Whilst that is probably normal for most of us, I think it took me much longer to reach the stage I am at now, where I am aligned with who I am in my soul... and I will not shift it for anyone or anything. I am officially a stubborn old ox.

So, this is me...
I crave peace and quiet and, right now, I am feeling a little like a hermit but that's okay because I know it will pass. I am growing spiritually (intentionally) and, to do that, I need space and peace and that is something that many won't 'get' but I am alright with that. I am not anti-social and I love people but something is shifting and I am actually allowing myself to grow into that shift, rather than avoid it for fear of what others may think. I am spending a lot of time in nature right now and loving every second. Nothing makes me happier than being outside, feeding the birds, watching the clouds, listening to the sea and connecting with it all through being 'still'. I have lost the need to have 'all the things' because they just don't seem important anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love nice clothes (and could really do with some right now!) but, what I am saying here, is that they are not a priority at all. My health and mental well-being is. 

A big part of who I am is wanting to create a happy experience for the people I care about. I want them to feel good about themselves and have positive thoughts about themselves and what they are doing in life. I guess that is why Leaf Lane Studio is such a passion-project for me too. I talked, in a recent vlog, about the customer service experience of my business being of utmost importance to me; making my brides feel like they are the most special person to me. I can't wait to do that because it is genuinely something I like to do for people anyway.

That (^^) is me, mostly... but I am also a... ripped jeans wearing, stripe-obsessive, cake craving, crystal buying, weight-lifting, Jeremy Kyle-watching, animal loving, popcorn addict with a kind heart and constant need for a nap (and so many other things too).

I want to end with this adorable quote from the Velveteen Rabbit, which I love so much...
'...you become. It takes a long time... Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand'.
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14 May 2017

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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We are half way through the month of May (and half way through my YouTube series 'Every Day in May'! - see the bottom of this post for all of this weeks videos, starting with today's and working back). Today has been super warm and bright, but we have had some really cold nights, where I find myself checking the calendar to make sure it is actually May!

This week has been a different one, as you will know, if you have been following the daily vlogs, I have spent four days away from home, decorating mum and dads lounge and kitchen for them and so it kind of feels like this week has flashed by. I got home on Thursday afternoon and pretty much crashed out on the bed for a couple of hours (covered with Gizmos blanket, much to Joes disgust!). It was lovely to do the road trip back though and see mum and dad and catch up with friends.

Have you had a good week? What has been going on?

Let's jump right in to all the good stuff shall we?

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:: This morning Joe and I walked into Marazion, pictured above (as seen from St Michaels Mount). Seeing as yesterday it was raining all afternoon and we have bad weather forecast for the start of next week, we figured we should make the most of the sun and so we wandered off, along the coast path, over the boulders and beaches and onto the beautiful beach we got engaged on. The plan was to go up St Michaels Mount, but we only made it to the bottom of it, as I had a wobble of anxiety. Nonetheless, we walked 10k and felt very tired when we got home! 

:: I am loving the amount of birds we have had in the garden this week. We have little Goldfinches nesting in the roof and we can hear their little babies chirping and chattering away. It was one of the things I was most looking forward to about moving; having more nature about and wildlife to look after. I am so happy that they are not fussed about Gizmo and, so far, she is not fussed about them. May that long continue. 

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:: Last night we had our annual 'Eurovision Party'. Well, I say party... it pretty much involves Joe and I giving the countries a score out of ten and deciding who will come into the top five. I didn't get anything right (as usual). You may be wondering what makes it a party? Well, let me tell you... popcorn and chocolate buttons make it a party! 

:: I am so grateful to have a garden that surprises me almost once a week with new flowers growing in it that I haven't noticed before. This week, as I was unloading the car with my various bits and bobs from my travels to mums, I noticed we have carnations in several places and this gorgeous red rose (^^) has opened up and looks so stunning. Whoever has spent time on this garden deserves a pat on the back because it is wonderful and there is so much to look at. I just love it here.

:: Yesterday, on a morning jaunt to see the seals at Godrevy, Joe and I discovered a quiet little cliff-top to sit on that was totally out of the gust of wind that almost knocked us off our feet. The view was stunning and we even got to watch the seals playing in the water below us. 

:: Whilst at mum and dads I got treated to a new plant for our house and some lovely skin-care bits too. I am so grateful for the pressies because, right now at least, I am not in a position to buy myself anything. Thanks mum and dad :-)

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:: On Wednesday, among the madness of paintbrushes, rollers and ladders, I found a spare bit of time to fly into where I used to work and catch up with some lovely peeps. It was so good to see everyone and to chat with some of the students too. It felt like I hadn't been away at all. 

:: I can't publish this post without mentioning food. As of today I am back to counting macros and back to my fat loss mission, but this week there were some treats and they were good! Dad took mum and I out for dinner on Wednesday evening; I had a delicious burger and I may have had sticky toffee pudding... there, I said it. Then there were the Percy Pigs I had on my road trip. What can I say? I was driving for give hours alone... a girl needs sugar!

Thank you so much for reading guys! Please scroll down to see the latest 'Every Day in May' vlog and the rest of this weeks vlogs too! I would love you forever if you would subscribe to my YouTube channel too, I am on a mission to grow the channel and I can only do that with your help... click right here to go to YouTube and then simply subscribe! Easy!

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10 May 2017

TRENGWAINTON GARDEN

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If you guys are watching my 'Every day in May' YouTube videos, then you will already have seen that I visited Trengwainton Garden last week (video linked at the bottom of this post). Joe and I have been members of the National Trust since we got married two years ago, and it was the best thing we ever did (and it is even better now we are living in Cornwall!). I thought I would take advantage of the lovely weather and visit somewhere that is just up the road from our village.

You know a place is amazing and magical when you totally lose yourself in it and forget about everything else for the time you are there. As I walked through the gravel pathways, sheltered by the trees, I felt a (much needed) wave of calm wash over me. Just being surrounded by nature and the sound of birds chirping and bees buzzing, made me want to step so quietly and just listen. It felt like a form of meditation, which I really needed, having spent hours and hours sat in front of a computer screen recently. 

This time of year is such a great time to visit any gardens, as there are carpets of bluebells everywhere, which makes the scenery even more beautiful. I find the experience of walking around these places so therapeutic and more helpful for my depression/anxiety then anything else. The National Trust really know how to do it well... 

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“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” 
― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

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I didn't know what to expect at Trengwainton, but I was so overwhelmed by just how stunning the gardens were and will definitely be returning really soon (with Joe of course!). I have plans to visit so many more National Trust properties and gardens this summer, so stay tuned!

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7 May 2017

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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We are one week into May and, I don't know about you guys, but we have had quite the mixture of weather down here in Cornwall this week. Today is gorgeous and warm but two days ago we were scared to let Gizmo out, for fear she might have to hang onto the washing line (with her teeth) for dear life or get blown out to sea. Yesterday it rained solidly all day long too. I kind of like the fact that it is so changeable though so I am not complaining.

Have you guys had a good week?

:: Having a treat weekend (last weekend) was the most needed thing at that specific moment! I don't find it easy to 'let myself go' at times like that but, what I do know is that it is healthy to enjoy yourself (in moderation) and so, sometimes, it has to happen! It was fab!

:: I finally got my prices all sorted for Leaf Lane Studio, which is such a big relief honestly. I am pretty sure that the first six months of my business will see some tweaking here and there of everything I put together at the start, but that must be true for most new businesses. I am so excited to share it all with you guys. I am putting somethings on Leaf Lane Studios Instagram account, which you can find right here or just search 'Leaf Lane Studio' in the app! I love having you guys following the journey.

:: I have been so grateful for you guys and all your comments on my 'every day in May' YouTube videos (all of this weeks videos are linked at the bottom of this post for easy viewing if you are interested!). You guys have been so sweet and funny and I really love hearing from you.

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:: As you may have seen from the vlog I put up on Friday (linked below, along with the rest of this weeks vlogs!) Joe and I had a morning out at the Eden Project. I love visiting Eden and this time was the best because it was the first time out of school holidays and it was so quiet that we barely saw anyone in the (usually packed) tropical dome. We had such a fun morning and I am so grateful to be so much closer to one of our favourite places.

:: As much as it felt that I was cheating on my old hairdresser (miss you Abi!) I had to find myself a place to get a haircut pronto this week and found somewhere nice in Penzance that could fit me in fast! So, like a grown up, I was all brave and had almost two inches cut off my hair. It feels so much better now :-)

:: We enjoyed a lovely walk in Sennen today and sat looking out to sea just taking in the crystal waters and feeling the sun on our backs. It is almost like you can feel it healing you, it feels so incredible. We watched some people having a surf lesson (what a perfect day for one!) - maybe one day I can join them although, I think I prefer the thought of paddle-boarding over surfing, but never say never.

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:: The other week I mentioned that my wonderful husband treated me to a couple of skin-care bits, following my skin returning to a teenage-like state. I am so pleased how fast it has changed after just a few days of double cleansing and popping some nice treatments on my skin. I really hate getting break-outs, especially at my age! 

:: I can't remember if I mentioned this previously or not, but as I have been listening to this song non-stop all week I figured I would mention it again. One of my favourite songs of all time is a song called Heaven, by Bryan Adams. I have always adored the song and rarely like covers of it but, several weeks ago, I found a live cover on YouTube by country singer Jason Aldean (featuring Bryan Adams) and I have fallen totally in love with it. If you fancy checking it out click right here! <3

:: Finally, I am grateful (a million times over) to have such an amazingly supportive hubby. This whole 'following your dreams' thing is bloody amazing but very stressful. Starting a business has been something I have wanted for so, so long now and to have Joes support whilst I am finding my way through it all is incredible to me. I don't have the words to say thank you for everything he has done and continues to do for me but I hope that, one day, I will be successful and can make him super proud of me.

Thank you for reading this post guys... continue to scroll down for all of this weeks vlogs, starting with the latest one and working backwards! If you are enjoying them, and haven't subscribed to my channel yet, I would love it if you would. Head to YouTube and hit the subscribe button!



















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3 May 2017

TAKING STOCK | APRIL 2017

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Another month of 2017 is over and I am, for the first time in years, really looking forward to summer approaching. The next few months are going to be super busy, probably a little bit stressful but definitely very exciting! By the summer, Leaf Lane Studio, the business that I have been dreaming about for years, will be up and running and I will be a self-employed girlie! It seems as if it is still not really happening, yet the number of hours I have spent sat at this desk, prove that I am working towards bringing my dreams into fruition. April has been a big month, and so much has happened, yet I can barely remember it as time is zooming by so quickly. Thank heavens I keep notes in my Bullet Journal or I'd be totally lost!

Let's get onto the best bits of the month:

m a k i n g :: lots and lots of strawberry protein smoothies (so good!).

c o o k i n g :: low carbohydrate brownies and pancakes too (click here for some recipes, pancakes coming soon).

d r i n k i n g :: too much tea and a lot of water... did I mention the delicious smoothies too?!

r e a d i n g :: The BFG. I am almost done and have quite liked immersing myself in a children's story. I never read that particular book as a kid, so Joe got it for me for Christmas! It makes a nice change for me to read something very easy going.

w a n t i n g :: some new summer clothes. I had a clear out but I am a little low on some things, although I am sure I will make do for another year!

l o o k i n g :: for suppliers for my business ideas.

p l a y i n g :: reggae playlists to match the warmer weather. They always make me feel so much brighter, especially on a Friday!

d e c i d i n g :: that June is the month to launch the business. Scary! Not sure which end of June it will be, but that is the main goal right now.

w i s h i n g :: I could have a make-up spree in Boots.

e n j o y i n g :: getting glimpses of dolphins playing in the sea and the occasional seal popping its head up for a look around.

w a t c h i n g :: all the birds in the garden enjoying the feeder we put out. I find it so relaxing just watching them come and go and listening to them chat away to each other and play in the trees. It reminds me what is important.

w a i t i n g :: for all the things I have been working on to come together and look like something that is more of a 'whole thing' rather than several fractured ideas!

l i k i n g :: wearing my hair in a half-up messy bun.

w o n d e r i n g :: when I should book in for my moon tattoo (maybe a business launch celebration treat?).

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l o v i n g :: discovering new wild flowers and realising how much grows in the strangest of places!

h o p i n g :: for more painting time really soon.

m a r v e l l i n g :: over the view from this house every single day.

n e e d i n g :: a hair cut, big time.

s m e l l i n g :: a mixture of freshly cut grass and pub food!

w e a r i n g :: knots tied into the back of overly baggy t-shirts.

f o l l o w i n g :: an inspiring new YouTuber (new to me), called Bethany Tomlinson. Her channel is fitness based information, meals and workouts and she is bloody awesome, not to mention crazy-strong!

n o t i c i n g :: that a few days of tracking my macros really helps me feel better.

k n o w i n g :: that Gizmo is really taking advantage of having me home every day now. She knows how to work the charm on her mummy!

t h i n k i n g :: about food, all day, everyday.

I just thought I would finish with a bit of a promotion for my month of vlogging in May! The hashtag #everydayinmay has been around for years and I thought I would have a go at this as I have never vlogged every single day for a month! Head on over to my YouTube channel 'From Lucy with Love Blog' to subscribe and watch the videos that have gone up so far! I would love to have you along for the ride!
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30 April 2017

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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It's May tomorrow guys, May! What?! I am attempting a little series on my YouTube channel for the month of May, called 'Everyday in May'. It speaks for itself really doesn't it? I am going to try to post a short video every single day, just to switch things up a little on my channel really, and give myself something else to do (because launching a business is not taking up enough time obviously!). I would love it if you would subscribe to the channel and support my daily ramblings as it would really help keep me going and generally support the channel too.

Back to this week. It has been a fairly big week for me, more mentally then anything else. As you may have seen, from Wednesdays blog post, I have had a bit of a mental health struggle recently. Things have been up and down like a roller-coaster and it has been confusing, disorientating and isolating. That said, I have had some good days in there too and I think things are back on the upward spiral, which is great. A big thank you to anyone who commented on the post or on anything on social media. You guys have no idea just how comforting your words are and they really make a difference.

Brain update complete, onto the happier bits and bobs from the week!

:: I put my 'big-girl pants' on this week and allowed you guys to have a peep into my Leaf Lane Studio designs on Instagram and on this vlog too! Whilst they are not professionally printed out and ready to go just yet (nearly) I wanted to share this specific part of the journey with you. I had some lovely comments and messages from you guys and, honestly, they gave me such a wonderful boost. I am so excited to get this launched now (not long to go!).

:: When we lived near Salisbury, our garden was a bit of a mossy postage stamp of nothingness. We couldn't grow anything and there were so many left-over builders bricks and rocks under the grass it was crazy. Now, we are fortunate to have a really amazing garden, which has clearly been well loved and cared for. I am constantly amazed by what I find growing in it and this week I was super happy to find some sweet peas; I adore sweet peas and to find them just growing in the middle of the flower bed was fab!

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:: Yesterday we drove the coast road from St Ives to St Just and decided to take a trip to Pendeen Lighthouse and have a wander. I had been once before but, as Joe hadn't seen it, I figured it would make a nice change. The view there really is amazing and the water was super blue/green and totally gorgeous too. Because of the rocks out at sea, there was a really unusual ripple effect happening in the water that I have never seen before. I just cannot get enough of the Cornish scenery.

:: A much needed treat day. Yesterday was a re-feed day for me and it was so needed. There was fresh bread, digestive biscuits and sweet and salty popcorn. No more needs to be said. It was delicious.

:: Now that we are both at home during the day we have started a bit of a lunchtime ritual of venturing outside to enjoy a cup of tea together (when it isn't raining of course!). It is so nice to take ten minutes out of the day and stand and have a conversation outdoors, enjoying the sun and looking out to sea. It helps to clear my mind and kind of refreshes my thoughts for the rest of the afternoon. I will never take those moments for granted.

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:: This week I discovered a great new blog, thanks to the lovely Gemma, called The Collative. It's a blog that shares all sorts of resources, stories, bio's and artistic ideas and is predominantly aimed towards anyone working as an entrepreneur or freelance creative. I am loving it so far and recommend it to anyone interested in creativity or creative business.

:: As a cat-mum, I can't help but love watching cat related Instagram stories and my favourite this week has to be from the ever so gorgeous Peta! There were some cat-bed related drama's this week which made me giggle (more so because we only have one cat, who has over four beds and pretty much sleeps in none of them!). Check Peta out on her Instagram but definitely have a look at her blog too, because it is so lovely.

:: As you will see in this weeks vlog (linked below) I have had a bit of a teenage-style breakout over the last few days, which is so frustrating and painful. I had pretty much stopped my usual cleansing routine because I don't have the money to go and buy more products, so I think that is mostly why I have had this sudden skin war on my hands. Yesterday Joe kindly bought me some bits for my face, and they have already calmed it right down. I always go back to trusty favourites; in this case it was the Una Brennan Rose Hydrate Cleanser and Efficlar Duo, by La-Roche Posay. The latter is super-soothing for me and really helps to unclog my skin.

That is all for this week folks but scroll on down to see todays vlog and click right here to go through to my YouTube Channel to subscribe for Everyday in May updates!

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26 April 2017

SURRENDERING

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^^Honest photo alert... but a real life snap nonetheless^^

Although what I have chosen to write about today is (thankfully) not a common occurrence for me anymore, I thought I would share this recent experience as I like to be open and honest and I hope that it will help someone else to realise these things are normal.

Yesterday (Wednesday 19th April as I write this) I took a bit of a mental-health nose-dive. It was sudden, it was dark and really, really horrible. I say it was sudden but I guess, if I really think about it, it was building up over a few days. The line between what is hormonal and what is mental health is blurry but, whichever it is, always presents as a mental health issue for me, so it doesn't matter what the cause really.

Since I started my Bullet Journal in January, I have been keeping a daily mood tracker, including 'mental health days' and I have only had six days that I have considered to be proper 'down' days since January, which is bloody awesome if you ask me. They really are rare which is why, when they hit me with the strength of yesterdays blip, I really get affected. I did well all day and managed to shelve it right up until about half past four but then, all of a sudden, I just crumbled. I was watching a bright and fun YouTube video with tears streaming down my face and couldn't get my head into gear to do anything more with the day. Joe came to find me and gave me a huge hug, which always helps, and let me cry like a hysterical wally. As a side note - always let yourself have a good cry because you will always feel better for it, I promise, apart from when you look in the mirror and realise you look like a panda (*must invest in waterproof mascara again*).

A hot bath and some yummy food, cooked by the hubby, made me feel much better then I'd felt all day, but the whole thing got me thinking about how this can suddenly happen, with barely any warning and absolutely no changes to bring it on. Hormones? Serotonin levels? Lack of mini eggs in my diet? Who knows, but I am learning to surrender to 'those days' and not give myself too much of a hard time. This means that the next day (today) I feel less stressed and just a little emotionally hungover.

I think the biggest thing to come into my mind on days where I spiral for a bit is how I am not yet free from the clutches of this mental health condition and that it is fairly likely to be a part of me forever, which is okay, but I wish there was a magic pill I could take on the worst days to pull me out of the numbness that encloses my mind with its mist. That is the worse thing. That said, I try to see the silver linings in it because there are silver linings. It makes me realise how lucky I am to have a husband that supports me and knows that all I need is a hug, a cup of tea and a hot water bottle to comfort me. It alerts me to the fact that sometimes my body wants me to just feel things and not shelve things and that it will continue to push me until I do. As soon as I let it all out and cleanse my brain (literally, what with all the tears) I feel better again. It is like I am reminded that I don't have to be indestructible at all times and that I can show weakness.

I am not overly sure at the main point of this post, other than to let you into a side of life which often gets pushed to one side and not shown on blogs and social media. I guess I have always been more open about my experiences with mental health (which I know some people don't understand) but I really just want to continue to talk about it so maybe it helps you to talk about it more too. As hard as 'those days' are, I have learnt to lean into them a bit more and to do what I need to do to let them pass slightly easier and they always do pass.

If you ever need someone to chat to, you guys know my 'email door' is always open, just drop me a message to fromlucywithlove@outlook.com and I will get back to you when I can but, and this is really important, don't forget to reach out to those closest to you when you feel low and seek medical help if you feel you need it. It has helped me and it can help you too.
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23 April 2017

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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It's Sunday again and the weather here in Cornwall has forced me into waiting until now to make this post live as, until about 3pm, I was out enjoying my day in the sunshine and fresh air. Waking up this morning to beautiful blue skies and the sound of our new found feathered friends (who have taking to living in the tree just outside the window) made me so thankful. I am still in a bit of a 'I-can't-quite-believe-we-are-here' daze and sometimes find myself staring into the distance and taking it all in. We really do feel like we are in heaven here, I guess it has always been the dream, so it feels like it's not real.

As the days get longer I am determined to make my evenings all about sitting outside with my water-colours and painting more. My day time hours are currently totally focused towards the business launch, meaning that I basically blink and the day is over! I am struggling with the lack of time to create so am looking forward to lighter evenings and lazy hours spent outdoors with a cup of tea and a paint brush.

Have you guys had a good week? Are you starting to wish for warmer evenings spent outside too? What are some of your favourite things to do with the lighter nights?

Onto this weeks favourite bits!

:: Several nights/mornings this week I have found myself letting Gizmo outside at around 2-2.30am. Being the geek that I am, I have followed her out to stargaze, on the clear nights of course. Last night was incredibly beautiful up there and, quite honestly, if I hadn't have felt so chilly, I would have made a home for myself on our table, which I use to lay on to get the best 'space view'. Totally normal behaviour!

:: You guys may know that I am not really 'into' films; we don't go to the cinema very often and I find myself watching documentaries or a good series on Netflix if I get time to watch something. But this week we have watched two films that I thought were rather good! One very cheesy old film, starring Jodie Foster, called 'Contact' and the other was the new Star Wars film, 'Rogue One'. I liked the cheesy one, despite it being old and somewhat weak in story-line, just because it told the story of contact from another planet and the possibilities that could entail. You know I love all that stuff! Star Wars was great too, although I prefer the 'other new one' as I call it... which is now old, 'The Force Awakens'. That amazing description is exactly why I won't ever call myself a 'film-buff'.

:: On Thursday, whilst Joe and I were having our lunch break in the garden, we saw the smallest, fluffiest bee we have ever seen. He was so cute! I tried my best to get a video of him but he was quite the zippy mover! I must learn a bit more about bees because we get so many in the garden and I love them so much.

:: Whilst I am on the subject of the garden... I am enjoying watching Gizmo having her mad five minutes out there too! Seeing her take a run up the palm tree, before realising she is not sure how to get down, has to be one of the funniest things to watch! She gets there in the end but is nowhere near as elegant getting down as she is getting up.

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:: I made a new batch of my low carb, high protein brownies this week and they were delicious (note the past tense). If you want to see how I make them then just click right here to go to the blog post.

:: I am really getting into reading and listening to podcasts about working with the moon cycles, as I totally notice how crazy my head goes around the full moon. Seriously guys, I have always noticed it but, now I am using my bullet journal to track my mood, I am really seeing a pattern! I am not talking about 'period tracking' here by the way, simply mood tracking. There are lots of theories about the best time of the moon cycle to be doing certain things such as making plans, putting things into action and resting, and I find this fascinating. This week I listened to a podcast featuring Ezzie Spencer, who talked all about this subject. If you are interested, definitely check out her website, Lunar Abundance.

:: This week I put up a post about building up a better relationship with your body and ironically, on the day it was scheduled for, I was having a rather bad day. I felt incredibly low and very, very depressed. Whilst it was led by hormones, not anything else, it was strange timing that I put up that post on a day where I felt anything but positive. However, ironic timing aside, the response I received from the post and the video that I included in it, was so lovely. Thank you so much if you emailed me or left a comment on the video or on Instagram. You have no idea what a difference that made on that day.

:: We may or may not have treated ourselves to some fish and chips on Friday, which totally don't fit my macros obviously but, you know, if we did have them, they were yummy (we did have them and they were more than yummy!).

:: Now that I am spending a whole lot of time at my desk in the lounge, busy working on products and what-not for Leaf Lane Studio, Gizmo seems to know that there is a lap going spare for a good amount of hours in the afternoon (she sleeps upstairs in the morning!). Usually I can handle her sprawled out on me for a while, but trying to work Photoshop and use a drawing tablet, whilst balancing a sleeping cat, became too much this week. Not content with having a special cushion about a metre away from me because, clearly that is too far from human warmth, I had to make Her Royal Highness a bed on my printer, right in front of me. She seems happy there, for now at least, and it stops the constant meowing and 'bbrrrrr-ing' at me whilst I work. I just have to remember she is there if I want to scan something ;-)

That is it for today's post. I am afraid that I won't be putting a vlog up until tomorrow or Tuesday now as I just don't have the time to get it finished for today. I usually like to be consistent with getting a vlog up, but sometimes life happens huh?! I hope that you guys have a great rest of day xx

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19 April 2017

BUILDING A BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR BODY

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I've been wanting to write a post about body confidence for a while but, the thing is, it is still a huge work in progress for me, so I tried to think of another approach and ended up deciding I would just type and see what flowed. This post is going to go hand in hand with a YouTube video I am putting up (linked at the bottom of the post!) about how to over come self-consciousness and anxiety in the gym as I thought they would make rather a nice pair (oo-er!).

My struggle with body confidence has been going on for as long as I can remember and, in-fact, I don't think I can remember a time when I actually liked the body I am in. It is only since I have reached my mid-thirties that I have realised just how sad that statement is. As I connect with myself more (spiritually) and realise that we are all just a part of this beautiful planet and everything connects, I understand more about the shell I am in and just how amazing it is. I am strong; I can lift heavy things and withstand hard times, physically and emotionally, and come out the other side feeling like I have learnt something new about the world, yet I still feel the need to criticise myself. We are all guilty of this and, I know it isn't easy, but it really has to stop or, at the very least, become less of a normal occurrence.

Physically speaking, I can honestly say that I am in the best condition I have ever been in. This doesn't necessarily mean aesthetically, but in terms of the food I put into my body to give it health and vitality and the type of exercise I do. I am listening more to how my body is feeling, really feeling and, on days where I feel utterly worn down, I am listening, not pushing. I take myself out for a walk or just totally rest or even nap if I need it. In the past I would binge often and exercise relentlessly without a care for my body warning me it was breaking down. I would be making little or no progress due to the cycle of binge eating and then not eating enough. The strain this had on my mental health was insane (and God only knows what state my metabolism was in).

Last year I went on a total mission, paid for an on-line coach and hit it hard. I did well, going from a size 16 to a 12 (not that size matters, but it is an understandable way of comparison I guess). I learnt so much from the months I spent training with my coach and I can honestly say that I haven't slipped back into my old ways at all. But with weight loss, came other issues. This is the thing about life, it throws you constant things to learn and adapt to. 

You see, in my teens, I was overweight, often needing clothes over a size 18. Please don't think I am judging here, I am not and I would never judge people on their size, I am simply using it as a comparison to where I am today. I honestly think I cared less then than I do now about how I looked (I blame social media for that!), but the point I am aiming towards is that now, at a (large) size 12, I have more visible evidence of where my body has been, like a road map of its journey. I have loose skin on the lower part of my stomach and my inner thighs; it hurts so much in the summer when they rub together and it makes me miserable to look at them in the mirror. Sometimes I stand looking at myself and pull the skin out the way, just to imagine what I would feel like if it wasn't there (and imagine the dresses I could wear in the warmer months without bleeding and rashes on my thighs!). 

Some days I love the fact that I have all these things on my body as, without this journey, I would not be who I am today, but other days I just get angry and frustrated that I have to work so hard to maintain who I am now. But, what I have learnt, and this is the most important thing, is that looking a certain way doesn't come first anymore. What comes first is mental health/spiritual health and the rest comes below that. I am lucky to be healthy and be free and that is a huge thing to be grateful for.

Building a relationship with our bodies, especially as women, is a continuous learning curve but it really is something that needs more attention and more of a positive image in the media. I find it laughable (and I am really talking about myself here) how we can lose lots of weight, fit into smaller clothes, feel healthier and stronger and more alive, yet still only see the flaws. Where has that mindset come from and why does it exist? I am lucky that I am old enough to be able to handle it and know when I am being a total moron, but I think we should all get together to tell each other how amazing we all are, because we really are incredible.

Our bodies are a temporary and fragile shell and they show the evidence of things we have been through, injuries we have sustained and things we have managed to withstand over time. Treat it well and stop the negative talk in the mirror. We can do this; let's build better relationships with our bodies right now and use all that energy we spend on negative self-talk to build each other up.

Thank you so much for reading this post. If you have any comments or anything you would like me to discuss then just pop them down below. I would love you to check out the YouTube video below that I made about dealing with anxiety and confidence in the gym too! If you haven't already subscribed to my YouTube Channel I would love it so much if you did, just click here to subscribe!

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16 April 2017

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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Happy Easter guys and girls. I hope you are enjoying your long weekend so far (if you have one of course). Joe is working tomorrow so only a few days off for him, but it has been a nice one here. Today is absolutely gorgeous (^^) so we took an early walk along the coast path for a couple of hours. It felt nice to get todays cardio in without having to sit on my spin bike for 45 minutes! The water was super clear and there was a wonderful breeze that cooled us down exactly when needed.

This week feels like it has been non-stop for me, what with business stuff coming out my ears, sorting out blog posts and videos and squeezing in four gym sessions too! It is so good though and I have finally sorted out some quotes from a really lovely printers so am feeling like I am on my way with Leaf Lane Studio now! I have also managed to get some painting done this weekend too. I feel like I am not stopping for breath, but it is true that, when you start a business, there is a super fine line between work and life as it all seems one and the same. I guess, once it is launched, I will be more able to look at the work life balance.

Let's get onto the gratitude list for this week shall we?

:: Easter treats in the post! This needs no explanation does it? My mum sent Joe and I some easter eggs and treats for us and the bear, which were a total surprise for us when they arrived! Thanks mum! #willpowerrequired

:: This week I have been so grateful to receive some really sweet comments on both my Instagram and YouTube accounts. Earlier in the week I wasn't having the greatest time (mental health battles...urgh!) and when I read the comments I felt overwhelmed as they were exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you to anyone who left something for me this week, you guys are amazing.

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:: This week something in my brain has clicked back in to full on macro-tracking mode, and it feels so good. It was one year ago since I started my fat-loss journey and, here I am, one year on, venturing on another challenge. It will be easier this time I think as I am doing it for different reasons and it won't be as extreme but I am thankful that I am back on it. I love a challenge! I am setting myself training goals too, such as increasing the weight I can lift when I am doing my compound exercises, such as squats, dead-lifts and military press moves. Wish me luck guys!

:: I think I say this every week but I am loving having a walk around the garden and watching the little buds opening up. It is such a magical time of year. Many of the pots we brought with us when we moved are jumping into life too (I always think they've died on me but can't bring myself to dig them out and replace them, just as well!).

:: Early morning tea and The Inbetweeners. This has happened a few times this week as Joe has had to be up earlier for work. You can't beat the lingo used in The Inbetweeners at 7am can you?!

:: Peanut flavoured protein bars are top of my 'must eat post-training' list right now. Grenade's 'Carb Killers' are my favourite protein bar anyway but, I have now tried their most recent flavour, and it is amazing!

:: You guys already know my love for fitness personality, Amanda Bucci (she really is awesome) but this weeks podcast episode on building muscle and losing body fat was super insightful and very motivational for me, especially at the moment. To listen to the episode click here! 

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:: Among the huge list of 'to-dos' this week was having a think about my logo for Leaf Lane Studio. I liked the one I had but something about it wasn't 'doing' it for me so I redesigned it to be super simple and used a hand-drawn, simple, botanical element to keep it minimalist. I will reveal it next week but I am super happy I persevered with it! 

:: On Thursday evening we took a walk to our favourite little look-out point on the early part of the coast path to Marazion. The sea was so calm with barely any waves whatsoever. As we sat looking out towards St Michaels Mount, we noticed dolphins playing about in the bay, jumping in and out the ocean and spraying water everywhere. I can't get over the fact that we are fortunate enough to see this kind of thing so easily. It feels magical to me every single time.

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:: Good Friday was a quiet one for us but we took to the beach in the late afternoon, just in time to see the tide taking away a labyrinth ^^ that had been built Rev. Annie Henry and other local people. I must admit that I had to come home and find out more about what the labyrinth was all about (contemplation and meditation) but it was lovely to see it in use and admire the work that had gone in to building it. As a fan of 'land art', I love what it represents and the fact that it is part of the circular pattern of life (being built and then washed away, back into nature). Having chatted to Annie whilst taking some footage for my vlogs, I now realise that the patterns in the sand we photographed a few weeks back were also labyrinths.

:: Yesterday we took an early jaunt to Mousehole, just for some fresh air and a wander about really. We stopped in a small cafe that we love to have a teacake (definitely not allowed in my macros) and a cup of tea. I enjoyed it a lot though and am 'back on the wagon' today! There is something about Mousehole that is so cute and like a little make-believe village I can imagine dreaming about as a child. The light is gorgeous there too and all the windy roads and hidden houses make it so fascinating.

I hope you enjoyed this post guys; scroll down for the latest vlog (I am in the middle editing another so make sure you are subscribed to my YouTube Channel for regular videos straight to your phone!).

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12 April 2017

THREE (EASY) HEALTHY TREATS

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I am officially on a bit of a 'summer shred' programme again (I can't believe it is a year ago since I signed up with Olly Fosters 'ART' programme, that is totally insane to me!). I have managed to maintain the fat I lost with Olly, apart from a teeny bit, which I am cool with as that is normal and now I am on a second push, but alone this time (eek!). I am still working from a newly adjusted version of the programme I did before but have just recalculated some of the macros to fit my current weight.

When doing any healthy eating plan, it is so important to make snacks that feel like treats but actually do some good in your body but, most importantly, they help you feel like you are cheating, without actually cheating. To be honest, these foods become a general part of my everyday diet regardless of whether or not I am on a 'shred', because they are delicious!

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If you have never made anything with chia seeds before, then try and over-look how they appear when they expand in liquid! They have so many health benefits, hence the title 'super-food'. They have a decent amount of zinc, vit B1, B2 and B3 and potassium, have a good fiber content, are full of antioxidants, have a high level of omega-3 fatty acids and many other things that your body will thank you for! So get making this yummy pudding right now!

This is super-basic to make, all you need are the following ingredients:
:: 1/4 cup of chia seeds
:: 3 tablespoons of cacao powder
:: 1 1/4 cups of almond milk
:: 1 tablespoon of honey
:: dark chocolate (if you would like it to make it all pretty on the top!)

This makes two servings of pudding and the macros, per serving, are as follows (but do not include the chocolate on top!):

Cals: 188
Fat: 8.4g
Carbs: 18g
Protein: 8g

To make it all you need to do is put all the ingredients into a jar or tub and shake it up and pop it in the fridge for a minimum of six hours. I usually leave mine overnight and occasionally give it a shake to keep the ingredients on their toes! Separate into servings and you are good to go. Of course, you can add any toppings you wish to yours.

You can make chia seed puddings with all manner of ingredients and, without a doubt, the most simple version is the vanilla pudding. Strip out the cacao and replace with a few drops of nice vanilla essence and there you have it! So yummy.

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H I G H  P R O T E I N  S T R A W B E R R Y  S M O O T H I E

I had to work out a way to make one of these fit my macros after having something super tasty in a cafe recently. I have added protein powder to mine but I am sure it will taste great without it, you may wish to add more yoghurt to keep the consistency thick as protein powder will add a certain thickness to the shake.

Here are the ingredients I use when I make mine (I am seriously addicted to it!):
:: 200ml of unsweetened almond milk (you could use whatever you like here)
:: 50g frozen strawberries (you could use fresh but it is more economical to buy frozen and also, it makes the smoothie even more like a milkshake made with ice cream!
:: 50g Greek yoghurt (I have been using 'Rachel's Greek Yoghurt with Honey' but if you use standard Greek yoghurt you will need to add some honey for sweetness).
:: 20g strawberry micellar casien protein (I get mine from My Protein as it is delicious!)

Simply throw all of the ingredients into a blender/nutra-bullet and bobs your uncle!

The macros for one shake, based on the ingredients I use are as follows:

Cals: 179
Fat: 6.2g
Carbs: 12.9g
Protein: 20g

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L O W  C A R B  P R O T E I N  B R O W N I E S

This is not quite as simple as the recipes above I must admit, but it still just involves throwing everything in a bowl and mixing, so I figured it counts! Also, because these are not super-duper sweet, feel free to add a little more sweetener to the recipe to suit your tastes. If you aren't looking for something low-carb, then you could just throw in some white chocolate chunks/chocolate chips/marshmallows...need I list all the possibilities?

The ingredients for these babies are as follows:
:: 85g whey protein. (I used my Vanilla Whey Isolate from My Protein)
:: 50g raw cacao powder
:: 4 pieces of high quality dark chocolate (we add this when the mixture is a batter consistency)
:: 240g liquid egg whites (I buy mine from the supermarket in their own bottle)
:: 30 drops of liquid stevia (this is where you may want to add more or you could add 60-80g powder sweetner)
:: 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
:: 1 tablespoon of baking powder
:: 60g unsalted butter
:: 120g zero sugar syrup (I had the My Protein butterscotch one to hand, but choose your flavour)
:: 228g light cream cheese

This makes 20 small brownies or 10 large (I made 10 large... of course!).

Preheat your oven to 175-180 degrees.
To make the batter, throw all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix with an electric hand mixer (for best results) until you have a smooth consistency. Once you have that sorted, break the chocolate into small chunks, pop in the mixture and stir with a spoon to distribute. Lightly spray your baking tray with 1 cal oil and pour in your mixture evenly. Oven for 20 mins.

The macros are based on the exact ingredients I had to hand and on a quantity of 10 but, seriously guys, what amazing macros they are.

Cals: 165
Fat: 9.9g
Carbs: 4.4g
Protein: 13.4g

Let me know what your favourite healthy treats are, I am currently looking to expand my recipe selection so would love to hear what you like to make!
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9 April 2017

WEEKLY GRATITUDE

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It is Sunday again already and it is lovely and warm and, as I type this from my desk in the lounge, I can smell food cooking in the pub next door and cut grass; are there any two smells that are better?! How has your week been guys? I feel like I have some catching up to do on-line as my head has been stuffed into a 'I am soon launching a business' cloud and I have not thought about much else. I have always known there is a lot to it, but as the launch date gets closer (I will let you guys know as soon as I can when it's happening!) I cannot think of anything but what I need to do for this business but, I cannot lie, I am l o v i n g every single second.

This week has also been a week of personal accomplishments, some of which may not seem like big deals to most people but, to me, they have made me feel 'lighter' inside and proud of myself for being able to do things I would normally find difficult or shy away from.

Let's jump into the things that I have loved from this week:

:: Sunbathing on a huge rock just off the coastal path near home. I am not a 'I must get a tan' kind of girl, but I just felt the need to get some serious warmth on my pale old skin. We wandered down a little path near home that led us to a gorgeous, rocky beach. We were there for a while and it was so peaceful and very needed. I have now officially adopted that beach as my reading and sunbathing beach.

:: Yesterday we popped over to the garden centre to buy a little saucer thingy for a pot I bought a million years ago and, while we were there, we treated the birds to a new feeder. Where we lived before there were really no birds at all, probably due to the large number of cats hanging about but here we have so many around the garden all day and it's wonderful to see. Having hung the feeder up in a tree (way out of Gizmos reach) a few little feathered-fellows came to munch away on the seeds. I love watching them. I'm just waiting for the day a seagull has a pop at it!

:: Whilst we are on the subject of birds... I am so grateful that our cat is scared of her own shadow. This week I watched her sitting about a metre away from a magpie, just staring at it. There was no crouching down or bottom-wiggling happening, she was simply watching on with curiosity (it didn't kill the cat, thankfully!).

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:: I feel like I have crossed a big business goal/'to-do' off my list this week as I have had more than one meeting with a printer, and felt the weight of the anxiety around that particular step lift off my shoulders almost instantly. I don't think I realised just how stressed out I was over it. The second meeting I had was with an amazing company in Penzance, who were so easy to chat to and have already been super helpful and understanding. I can't believe this business is actually going to happen. I am getting closer every day now and I couldn't be happier!

:: I mentioned this on my Instagram this week but I wanted to mention it here too as I am kind of proud of myself. On Wednesday I had arranged to meet up with a friend (another Lucy actually) in St Ives. I get quite nervous about crowds and, as it is holiday season right now, everywhere is somewhat busy. That in mind I decided to park out of town and walk in. Now, if you have ever suffered with being extremely self- conscious, you may understand how it feels walking down a busy road and feeling like everyone is staring at you, but it was the lesser of the evils! To cut a long story short, I did it. I walked in to St Ives, met Lucy, wandered about, had a cuppa, and then walked back to the car. Granted, I was beyond mentally tired when I got back, but hey, you can't let these things take over can you? Anxiety nil, Lucy one!

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:: Gym wins! I haven't been able to squat with a bar across my back for years, due to my scoliosis and niggly issues that occur as a result of that but, last week, I had a (light) attempt at squatting and have been gradually increasing reps and weight and it seems okay. So far, so good! I don't think I'll ever push it to huge lifts, but I'm grateful that my body is coping so far. It feels good to be doing it again that's for sure.

:: Starting a new book. I have (finally) finished the book I have been reading before we moved. I was so slow at it because I got so into it that I kept re-reading sentences, writing notes and marking pages. To give my brain a little break, I cracked open a book that Joe bought me for Christmas as he was stunned I didn't know the story! So, last night, I started reading Roald Dahls 'The BFG'! Guys, I absolutely love it! I think I will have it finished within days but I am so enjoying the magic of it. It is funny to read kids books as an adult and see the lessons glaring you in the face isn't it? I love the way he describes how plants and trees feel being broken. Even as an adult I struggle to see kids pulling at trees and plants, fully intending to break them. Can we get a copy of The BFG to all young people?

That's all for now folks but I will promise to blog on Wednesday (I have missed a couple because of migraines and business and am so sorry! I was doing so well!). This Wednesday I should be putting up a few healthy treat recipes. I am just perfecting one of them a little more!

Below is the latest vlog (put up last Friday) and another will be up next week too! Have a lovely rest of day and a fab week ahead :-)

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