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25 January 2015

Forest air

I believe in the restorative power of the forest.  There is something about being surrounded by 'nature untouched by the hand of man', where you can walk for miles and not see another person.  The air feels different; cleaner, clearer somehow.  It's good to fill your lungs with.  It's good to have that sense of something much bigger, and older than the things you're struggling with.  The scale of the trees and the forest makes you realise that everything you're carrying around with you just pales into insignificance.

When we were in Yosemite National Park last year we saw the Giant Sequoia trees at Mariposa Grove.  They are said to be the largest living things on earth.  In our Junior Ranger Handbooks we had to write five things that the Giant Sequoias have lived through.  Many of them are over 3,000 years old, and so we wrote down that they'd lived through both World Wars, through the Roman Empire, through the Industrial Revolution, through the Black Death, through the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, and so on.  To them, we are nothing but a speck of dust in the Universe, and they will be here long after we've gone.  I'm sure, if they had voices, they would tell us to shed our petty worries and move forwards.

Sunny forestHolly
Muddy Bodhi Walking Bodhi and Rosie 02
// coat: ASOS, £35 // jeans: topshop jamie petite jeans £38 {similar}
boots: two tone hunter wellingtons {old} // scarf: atterley road, £8

Rosie Ice Rosie walking

Whilst we were walking down this path, three deer walked out, crossing the path ahead of us.  The last deer stopped, and stared us for what felt like a really long time.  It was quite a special moment.  I had my 50mm lens on so I couldn't get much closer (but that's okay).

Forest deer Deer 03

On a final note, thank you for all of the kind comments on my previous post.  They mean a lot.

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24 January 2015

Lost - and words that help

I'm sure a few people are wondering what's happened to my blog lately (I know I am!).  It's gone from a hubbub of reviews and photos and roundups, to either radio silence; or smatterings of poetry and bits and bobs placed here just to avoid losing the flow completely.  It's not that I've gone off blogging, it's just that I've slowed down with almost everything so much lately that I'm finding it hard to start again.

Back in October/November I got myself really quite burned out.  My diary had entries for every day, my to-do lists stretched on for pages and pages, I was working hard and playing hard.  After Christmas I resolved to slow down a little - I cleared my diary so that I had very few plans through January, and I've spent a huge amount of time home alone due to Tom's work commitments.  I don't have many friends where we live (as we moved half-way between our friends and family to live together), but I thought I'd relish all that time alone to read, do yoga, blog, cuddle Bodhi and take long Lush-filled baths.

Instead I found myself wandering the house aimlessly, as if I was looking for something I'd lost.  So many free evenings stretched out in front of me and I just couldn't get a handle on what to do with them.  We both should really be wedding planning but the enormity of the task has left us pushing it to the back of the drawer, like that pile of pizza menus and batteries you really should sort out but don't have the energy to do.

img credit: portlandjetaime

I always thought of myself as an introvert - someone that took all of their energy from being alone. But being alone so much lately has meant I've started to feel a little lost.  Call it January blues, or the enormity of wedding planning (and, let's face it, the idea of getting married is both incredibly exciting, and a little scary!), call it not enough sunshine or the pressure of a New Year, but things have got a little off track.  I've not been doing any of the things that usually nourish and repair me; I've not really been eating properly, or exercising, or meditating, or practising yoga, I've just been wandering aimlessly and waiting for it to pass.  It's been a few weeks now though, and it hasn't really passed.  I feel a little like I've climbed down into a hole and gotten used to being in the dark.  I am angry at myself for this happening; I know I have so much to be happy for.  
img credit unknown/quote credit unknown

I am hoping with the lighter evenings will bring renewed energy and direction.  I don't seem to have much energy for running, or yoga, but I want to get myself back out there as I know the feeling afterwards will be worth it.  I've been searching in books and on Pinterest (so cliché) for little snippets of words that will help and I came across this on Tumblr.  The author doesn't seem to blog anymore but I've linked to her blog anyway.  It has helped me today - I hope that if you're feeling low or need a little direction, that it will help you too.

1 6  s t e p s  t o  h a p p i n e s s  { by Emma Elsworthy}

1. push yourself to get up before the rest of the world - start with 7am, then 6am, then 5:30am. go to the nearest hill with a big coat and a scarf and watch the sun rise.

2. push yourself to fall asleep earlier - start with 11pm, then 10pm, then 9pm. wake up in the morning feeling re-energized and comfortable. 

3. erase processed food from your diet. start with no lollies, chips, biscuits, then erase pasta, rice, cereal, then bread. use the rule that if a child couldn’t identify what was in it, you don’t eat it.

4. get into the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. fry tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic, fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it. sit and eat it and do nothing else. 

5. stretch. start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. roll your head. stretch your fingers. stretch everything.

6. buy a 1L water bottle. start with pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking it twice.

7. buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen. write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. no detail is too small.

8. strip your bed of your sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. put a massive scoop of scented fabric softener in there and wash. make your bed in full.

9. organise your room. fold all your clothes (and bag what you don’t want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor. light a beautiful candle.

10. have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. lather your whole body in moisturiser, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.

11. push yourself to go for a walk. take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour. realise you can learn from your dog.

12. message old friends with personal jokes. reminisce. suggest a catch up soon, even if you don’t follow through. push yourself to follow through.

14. think long and hard about what interests you. crime? sex? boarding school? long-forgotten romance etiquette? find a book about it and read it. there is a book about literally everything. 

15. become the person you would ideally fall in love with. let cars merge into your lane when driving. pay double for parking tickets and leave a second one in the machine. stick your tongue out at babies. compliment people on their cute clothes. challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. then two. then a week. walk with a straight posture. look people in the eye. ask people about their story. talk to acquaintances so they become friends.

16. lie in the sunshine. daydream about the life you would lead if failure wasn’t a thing. open your eyes. take small steps to make it happen for you.

***

I don't know how to finish this, except to say that the reason I'm posting this here is because I've read a few blog posts recently where people have been open about struggling with things, and it helped me a lot.  It helps to know you're not the only one now and then waving a little flag that says "This stuff is tough, I'm finding it hard".  I think especially as women, we feel like we have to have things dialled and under control all of the time, and put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect.  So I'm telling myself, and everyone else, that it's okay to not be perfect, or even good, now and then.  And now it's my time to climb out of the hole.


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18 January 2015

Where have you been?

I've not been blogging as much over the last couple of weeks - I'm not entirely sure why, it's actually the opposite of usual as I've been home alone for most of it with no plans.  But I've chosen to spend that time reading, and chilling, and just generally having some me-time instead, and I haven't really had a great appetite for blogging.  It's good once in a while to have a little break, and I don't believe in forcing it when the inspiration isn't there.

I thought I'd share a few snaps of things I have been up to however - I haven't been out and about with my camera really so I'm afraid these are all photos from my phone.  

001. Making Nigella's Eggs in Purgatory for Sunday brunch, with warm bread for dipping.  Too good!


002. Going on lots of rainy and cold dog walks.


003. Partaking in Yoga With Adriene's 30 Days of Yoga (although I have quite a few to catch up on!) Time on my mat with the lights low and incense burning is ultimate relaxation time for me.


004. I've been getting the train in the mornings rather than driving to work at the moment so this is where I usually am at 07.30 - shivering in the near darkness on the train platform! Being able to read my book and listen to music on the train rather than being stuck in traffic is a bonus though.


005. Been on a few lovely morning runs at the weekend lately.  My pre-work morning runs last week were a major fail though, the one where the head torch cracked me in the nose and then failed, meaning I was running in pitch black and a torrential rainstorm was 'character building' to say the least.


006. Sometimes I post my work outfits on Twitter.  I do love these Boden red trousers, I always feel a little nautical when I match stripes, navy and red.


007. Yesterday was three months until we get married, so we've made a big list of all of the things left to do.  Rings, invitations, flowers, shoes, outfits for Tom and ushers, cake, hair, make-up - should we be more sorted by now? Oops!

008. We have been planning our honeymoon though (we've got our priorities right, right?) We're going to Bali for a month - if you have any Bali tips for us or have blogged about a trip there please let me know in the comments!

009. Been doing lots of reading already this year - finished Etta and Otto and Russell and James, and Cape Fear, and now reading Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed which is quite emotional but wonderful so far.

010. New hair! I went to the hairdresser's yesterday to get highlights but they said that if I really wanted all over colour (which I did) then a scalp bleach would get the effect I wanted - they weren't too worried about the damage as I'd grown out most of the old bleach and said it was in really good condition.  So behold my new white hair! I really don't like it my natural colour so it's nice to be light again!

 

Hope you're all having lovely weekends wherever you are.  I'm away at a work event for most of next week so my Sunday is going to be mostly full of packing and ironing!

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