AD GIFTED: CH CH CH CHANGES

This was an article idea I had written in my notes for a while, before life got turned upside down by the virus and forced so much change into our life, without option. 

So this article will now be an amalgamation of changes I had made, or had planned to make, and those that will now likely come as a result of a new mindest/ perspective that these surreal for weeks have/will give me. Some will be fairly trivial things, others have the potential to set me on a completely new life path. 

FASHION REVOLUTION

I’ve reached that point in my life where I have to protest and say ‘No MORE’ to uncomfortable clothing. I’m so passionate about this I might be stirred to make a placard. No more of those cramp-giving heels that make the balls of my feet fee like they trotted over hot jalapeños. No footwear that increase the opportunity for public calamity. No tops that I may get trapped in, when home alone. These days If my jeans are chafing and causing that horribly itching in the knee pit, they come straight off (wherever I am) and swapped for fleece, soft jersey, and any fabric that cushions and soothes my irritated limbs. As my friend Poppy said, anyone who works from home wearing jeans is a Psychopath.No more bra’s that create a bib of flesh under my chin. None that have underwire that feel like they are trying to carry out surgery. Life is just too short to choose to feel less than comfortable in your clothes, particularly when life, social situations and our insecurities offer up many ways to make us feel uncomfortable. 

FROM VOICE NOTHING TO VOICE NOTING

A while ago I got severe messaging fatigue. It felt so completely overwhelming I pretty much stopped doing it apart from the essentials… and my personal definition of ‘essential’ became watered down so I could do even less. I didn’t enjoy this type of connection to other humans because I associated it was stress. In part because of the contents of the messages, but mainly because I found them so hard to keep up with,  so then I just associated it with that feeling of overwhelm or missing out.

I also don’t like how you can’t always deduce tone of voice correctly, nor can you feel that warmth you can enjoyfrom an actual voice..…or touch, god forbid you allow yourself that!!  It all feels a bit clinical with all too many possibilities for conflict, confusion and a whole lot of meaningless twaddle sharing. 

Having the symptoms of arthritis in my fingers and arms also added another layer – pain. So I decided to utilise another part of messaging culture – the voicenote. Instantly it felt less like a hassle. Instead of typing on hundreds of buttons I just had to hold one down and talk. I felt more connected as it as more like an actual conversation would go in really life. I could hear empathsis, nuance, sarcasm, humour, feeling, and genuine care  and even better I could deliver it too. So now more often that not if I do send a message you’ll hear my voice -1 raspy and weary, serious and focused, pumped and hyperactive or breaking and tearful….but always real. 

GOODBYE GRUDGE

If someone had done me wrong, or I didn’t like how they operated in a certain scenario I used to have a tendency to let toxic thoughts/feelings consume me, and for long periods of time. I’m not proud of it, and I never was, but it’s easier said than done to always think kind, even when you’re trying to act kind. I don’t do it anymore. It’s not nice to dwell on negative feelings of others and it actually makes you far less happy. There’s lot of people I’ve realised aren’t ‘my people’, but I now wish them well and try to treat them with kindness. Just because someone isn’t for me, it doesn’t mean I can’t wish them well, give them advice, even be there for them at times. This change of approach has lifted a weight for me and I believe helps toxicity to become diluted in the world. I think for a while I was worried that this was a two faced approach, but I don’t think it is. It’s about deciding to handle differences in a mature and positive way and put good stuff in t0 the world, and to those that reside on a different plane. 

INVEST IN YOURSELF 

I think when you don’t have much faith or believe in yourself you don’t figure spending money on yourself a wise investment. But I’ve witnessed so many people I follow online invest in what they believe to be their talents, opportunities, passions and seen, via their career trajectory, that it can lead to great success. So in the last couple years I have spent a bit more on things that could make my work life more successful – like a camera, lenses, mic and a learning course. But probably most importantly hypnotherapy to work on improving my confidence levels. 

Suit from Nasty Gal

SELECTIVE LIVING

I’ve become a proud ‘no (wo)man’ . Saying no doesn’t have to be  negative thing. It can be about creating helpful boundaries, reducing the amount of moments in your life that bring unnecessary amounts of stress, or ensuring you let the right people in to your life. My decision process when it comes to work is now ‘ do I want to do it?’ Or ‘will it pay my bills in the near future?’ Rather than the previous process which would consider how it might be a ‘good look’ for my personal brand, how it might pay off in the future, or whether loads of people I knew were doing it.

It’s made everything much more black and white and has led to me spending time far more wisely. I used to be anti blocking people on social media, and would try my best to speak to everyone, even the trolls – I was convinced I could turn any mean spirited communication around. These days it’s a very loud ‘no’ to those that bring negativity to my online platforms. I report and block swiftly, and if someone follows me without a picture or name I block before they  even have the chance to be mean anonymously.

When it comes to socialising I have started to consider what’s right for me a bit more. I used to struggle for money, energy and happiness when I forced myself to do everything in pursuit of keeping other people happy. Now I give myself bit more of a break if I know that all things considered it doesn’t make sense for me to go. 

One of the most helpful changes has been giving up on trying to stay or become a vital member of a city clique. Due to my location it’s an impossible feat, and a mission that will only lead to fatigue and failure. Plus, I know now that big friendship group scenarios aren’t really my thing anyway – I much prefer small or one on one social interactions. I find them far more enriching and they suit my introvert personality far better. 

LESS IS MORE

Since moving to my flat I’ve spent LOTS more time at home. Not quite hermit status, but voluntarily close to it. I guess it’s that whole nesting thing minus… the hatchlings. As a result I very rarely have to get dressed in my ‘public’ outfits. More often than not I’m top-knotting my hair in my ‘comfy’s’ and it’s just brought home how many excess pieces of clothing I own, all filling up space in my flat and gathering dust and god knows what else.  Wanting to maintain as much space as possible for things that are essential to store and keep hold of I’ve found myself frustrated by all this extra unnecessary stuff I’ve accumulated – things and stuff that I very clearly don’t need now, and probably never really did. 

My mindset about fashion shopping has completely changed in the last couple of years. I never do my online binge shopping anymore. I realised it was something I did to achieve a temporary high during depressive periods – I now have the tools to steer myself to get through in a much more sustainable and helpful way. I’ve bought the majority of my clothes for charity shops in the last few months, the rest have been occasional treat buys that I knew would get a lot of wear/ or were replacing things that had past their best. 

I feel better in terms of knowing that I’m not contributing to the damaging impacts of excess waste and fast- fashion and my bank balance isn’t trembling in fear (well it wasn’t before COVID temporarily cancelled my career).  

BODY BOOTY-FUL 

I was one of those people who could genuinely eat anything and not put on any weight. I’m not saying I had an enviable figure, but I know people did envy my ability to eat so much (and so much crap) and still stay slim. I’m now at that age where I can see weight creeping on, particularly in the bum, thighs and round my belly button. I actually think my face benefits for a few more extra pounds as someone that’s perrenially tired with an angular bone structure. As I said in a previous blog post dedicated to this subject, I’m not body confident but I’m body content/care-less. My boobs melt over the side of my rib cage to create elbow pads when I lie down. I have enough thread veins to create a map of Milton Keynes. The texture of my thighs is similar to lumpy angel delight….but I care not. 

INVEST > REPLACE (featuring gifted product) 

I’ve gone a bit luxe in some specific areas. I’d say expensive but it’s actually just fairly priced – getting what you pay for.  In this case quality! I’ve basically just stopped buying all the cheap tat I used to buy, and then replace within a couple weeks.

I was that person that would buy jewellery knowing full well it would turn my neck green, make my ears ooze with puss, and most probably break after a few wears, or after a careless tug as I took my pullover off. 

I haven’t bought much, I’ve still been very selective. I’ve chosen a few special but versatile pieces that  I loved and coveted on Instagram for a while, which now get worn pretty much every day. They’ve become part of my routine and I just know they’ll be with me forever. Timeless but effortless pieces that go with EVERYTHING.

The latest addition to my staple/everyday jewellery is this lovely gold Daisy London Luna Lock necklace created in collaboration with Estée Lalonde which can be found alongside their stunning range of Women’s necklaces  .

They’re a brand I have adored remotely for a while via Instagram, and in person whenever I have gotten to see their collections at press days. One of those brands that taps in to the aesthetic of the jewellery I would make if I ever had the exciting opportunity to have my own collection. 

I love that this one is chunky and statement, but in a delicate way. Plus as a hippy at heart I’m always drawn to anything luna related. 

https://www.daisyjewellery.com/necklaces/full-collection

HOME PRIDE

I feel really bad about neglectful of housekeeping and chores I was at my family house. My room would invariably be a stinking mess, and the sink in my bathroom often abstractly decorated by dried, spat-out toothpaste and orange tide marks of make up. I knew it frustrated my mum no end, and yet I’d always find excuse for my disregard for cleanliness. Some of them were valid (lack of space for all my stuff being that my whole life was contained in my bedroom) but many of them were down to the fact that I just didn’t think it was that important.

I’d think ‘life’s too short’ to worry about a bit of untidiness and dirt. Now I have a space I can call my own, I get it. I was an arsehole. I’m constantly wanting to look after it now and I see keeping it clean like a process of cherishing and appreciating it. When people visit I want my home to look it’s best too, as it’s a visual representation of how far I’ve come in the last year. So I now completely understand why my mum would be go instantly out of her mind with stress, cleaning furiously when I surprised her with the news that a friend was due to pop by in an hour. This is me whenever Si forgets to tell me he’s invited someone over. 

(Wearing old Pull and Bear Dungarees and Saturday by Megan Ellaby Tee )

HI TO DIY 

I grew up with a Dad that was so handy he could probably be a permanent fixture of The Repair Shop. He’s fixed multiple broken straighteners, diagnosed boyfriend’s ailing cars, and fashioned ingenious problem-solving contraptions to help with any home based irritation we could find. I loved (and took for granted) that I could call on him for any DIY related job I may have. But since moving out he’s no longer just a few metres away to come to my rescue. I can’t get him to drive over for all those small but fiddly jobs, I now have to either dig into my pockets and hire a tradesman, or give it a go myself. I’ve tried to take the second option where possible and I’ve got to say it’s given me a new type of confidence. It’s made me realise I am capable, and that I can get by without the help of others for a large majority of problems/jobs that might arise. Sure the quality might not be to the level of my perfectionist Virgo father, but there’s lessons to be made from the mistakes/disasters, so that’s okay! But more than that…I’ve really enjoyed it. There’s so much satisfaction to be had from seeing a finished project and saying ‘I did that.’ 

NO RAGE ABOUT AGE

One inevitable change is ageing. I think we all, for a few moments in our young lives at least, think we will be that anomaly that will be able to defy the rules. But here I am in my thirties with a furrowed brow, etched in lines all over my forehead, pores getting bigger by the day, and skin that just doesn’t ping back as fast as it used to. I notice the application of eye shadow is different now that the eyelid drags along with the brush as I swipe it across. I notice how foundation sits in the smile lines that go from my nose to my mouth. I notice how the more make-up I wear, the most it shows up this evidence of experience and ‘wisdom.’ I get frustrated that age is a thing that always has to be written in articles, even when it’s not remotely relevant to a piece, I hate that it’s even more prevalent in pieces about women. Have I evolved into a person more willing to accept my own? Maybe not.  But the change I have made is that I’m starting to take care of myself in new ways as I get older. 

I’ve started using retinol products by The Ordinary. I am much more religious about applying my spf products and suncream. Last year I even treated myself to a home LVL lash treatment because I felt the curled lashes made my face look fresher and more awake. While I wish I was a few years younger, I know getting older is a privilege and I now try and make the most of myself as it continues to change. 

https://theordinary.deciem.com/product/rdn-retinol-1pct-in-squalane-30ml

PARENTS: PS, I LOVE YOU 

I’m not saying I didn’t appreciate them before, but I think distance has really emphasised the gratitude I have. I don’t think it’s uncommon if you’re in your late twentys/early thirties to feel frustration towards and resentment for your parents when you are in a situation which means you are sharing a home. The house suddenly feels like it’s got Temple of Doom style walls closing in on you.  It’s not that you aren’t aware of how lucky you are to even have that option, it’s just misdirected anger/fear/stress. You’re upset that you’re not where you imagined you would be at this point. You’re angry at the situation (even if it isn’t actually that bad) because we all have goals and benchmarks that motivate us in adult life, and  not reaching them inevitably feels like a failure (in our heads). My parents were actually really cool and understanding about Si and I living with them well into what should have been their carefree retirement – we were undoubtedly the nuisance in this scenario. 

But now that we live in separate homes, and have the advantage of hindsight, I really feel how lucky we both were and are, and I really look forward to every opportunity I get to see and speaking to them. During this lockdown it’s really dawned on me I must make an effort to keep this as regular as possible when normality resumes. 

THE FUTURE IS ORANGE

‘Eat more fruit’ they always say. ‘Stop picking out those mushrooms!’ they used to nag. Well it turns out I was right to avoid these as it turns out a huge bunch of fruit and veg aggravate what I now know to be MCAS (google it). Apples would make me dash to the loo within 5 minutes. Salads would give me terrible squits. Pineapple would make my tongue swell and sting.

This Nasty Gal Boiler Suit is currently on sale fyi

However I have found that Satsuma’s don’t cause me any obvious issues. So I do try to eat one a day instead of demolishing another packet of biscuits. This might sound very insignificant and something not worthy of inclusion, but as someone who has never seen eating her 5 a day an achievable target, this is actually a very positive step. 

GIGS ON RATION

Don’t get me wrong – I still believe there’s few things better than seeing music live (when it’s good). There’s always something so special about the unity created with strangers within a space soundtracked by songs that have properly mirrored your own narrative at some point. 

However gigs started to present issues that started to make them feel a tad like a hassle which made me sad as lifelong music nut who used to find the prospect of seeing a fave band live the ultimate way to spend an evening. That pre-gig thrill was replaced by anxiety, and no end of logistical nightmares that made me wonder if it was all really worth it. 

Working in the music industry meant I could go to gigs every night of the week if I wanted (if I didn’t mind sending out a few cringe guestlist requests) which I think took away that feeling of a concert being a treat. When I was a kid it was a rare thing that you’d have saved up for or was given as the ‘best present ever.’ 

Seeing so many people I associated with work made it feel less like the escapism too. I felt anxious about who I might bump into, which conversations I might want to avoid, but more importantly that my mind who shift into work- mode rather than ‘let loose and have a bloody good time mode. I missed the feeling of joining strangers in music induced joy.

Then I had to factor in the impact of my health and the logistical aspects I had to consider to make each event safe and one I could last through. I won’t go into that lengthy process but let’s just say it made the act of going to a gig a bit of a chore at times. 

In the last couple years I made the conscious decision to go to less gigs so I could really get that schoolgirl era excitement about live music back. I’d go seated so I could be comfortable and not worry about health aspects, but also largely avoid ‘the scene’ which caused me those anxious feelings. I opted out of festivals that I’d always felt a pressure to go to because everyone I knew was, and in time I got used it and that feeling of fomo disappeared. 

Now that most of our summer festivals have been cancelled I guess my love for them will return with even more heft. I imagine 2021 will be quite a vintage year.

PATH NOT TAKEN

I’m sick of saying it, but just in case this is the first time you’ve come to my blog… I’ve never been completely comfortable in the role of being the face of a content creator. There’s lot about the industry that makes me anxious or uncomfortable. But it was a career I felt could work because I needed flexibility and the ability to work from home when my health deteriorated. I’ve gotten to the age where certain parts/areas of content are becoming even more unappealing so I decided to bite the bullet and retrain in something I feel would be better suited to me.

I booked the first part of my course which was due to start in April. I have no idea when I will be able to get going on this new chapter now, but its still exciting all the same. It will mean that blogging/internet work might completely full by the wayside, or that it ends up just being something I do for a hobby (which might take the pressure off and make it fun again), but I think I’ll feel much happier for it.

I’m quite looking forward to leading a largely offline and 9-5 way of life. Although I haven’t gone into detail I just wanted to say it’s never to late to deviate or completely change course. Certain responsibilities sometimes make it hard/seeimngly impossible, but your age should never be one of them. We are constantly evolving beings so it makes sense that what we want to do or what we feel we can deliver will change over the years. 

NOT QUITE VEGAN

I’ve learned that being vegan is much more than just cutting animal products out of your diet. It impacts every aspect of your life and so while I’ve made the change to a plant based diet I’m not perfect, and probably haven’t quite earned the vegan label. However, we intentionally avoided purchasing a car with leather interior. I now only buy vegan friendly shoes (like these boots below from Marks and Spencer). I also avoid wool – I even chose a poly carpet instead of wool and made sure the paint I chose was also environmentally/vegan friendly.

All of my make up/beauty products are vegan or cruelty-free, but I presume (although I don’t know) that there are still items in my flat that wouldn’t pass the vegan test, because sometimes I just forget to check in absent minded moments. All considered though I’m really pleased at my progression in this area and I know it makes me feel better in more ways than one. As an empath I find what is going on in the world in terms of climate change very upsetting, and I feel like my reducing my contribution to it makes me feel like I’m doing something to help.

https://www.marksandspencer.com/l/women/vegan-footwear

CAT IN THE FLAT

Yes, we finally have our own furry long term companion. Fostering Nimbus proved to be a very good way of figuring out whether our situation/timing made sense in terms of taking on the responsibility of another life. I think people think having a cat is the easy option. It’s definitely not true if you choose a siamese but as I said to Si, if we don’t survive bringing a cat in to our family we certainly are not ready for children. I’m hoping it’ll teach Si about compromise and sacrifice but at the moment I’m currently the one up at 3am each night trying to stop her incessant chatter. 

YOU-TUBE, YOU-TOOL

Before recent events I was in a full on huff with YouTube. I had decided to neglect it from my work life moving forward because I got well and truly ticked off with how it would hide or punish those talking about important issues (sexuality, mental health, addiction etc) and promote those sending out or promoting very damaging messages and behaviour. For the last year I have been uploading vlogs filmed during out first year in our first home, haven’t been plugging them, and haven’t been filming new content (aside from the odd cosy catch up). While I still won’t be a busy cog in the YouTube machine, I can understand why many will want to use the platform right now. I think it’s great that people are providing information and escapism for people struggling with so much alone/indoor time. 

HERMIT BREAK TIME

It’s no secret that I’m a homebody, but even I have my limits. Since Si started his new job (almost year ago now) our weekends have been dedicated to pure chill at home and what Si call’s his ‘me time’ which involves me being shunned to the bedroom while he has a 4 hour Call of Duty session in the lounge via the big TV. The weekend will also more often than not incorporate a take away too, which I’m entirely on board with, but I have missed the outside activities we used to incorporate into our two days ‘together’. I get it. He was working 12 hours days in the office. He was exhausted and just wanted to slop around the flat that he doesn’t get to enjoy most of the week. But since we’ve been on lockdown he’s started to realise how valuable having choice was. He’d now kill to be able to go for a lengthy walk in the sunshine or go out to a restaurant or the cinema. So I think once we are allowed to venture out again, I think our weekends will start to return to their former glory. I think whatever our level of CBA, we will both be on the same page of making sure we get a bit of a fresh air and so some activity that we may have taken granted before. 

This post features gifting from Daisy London. 

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