Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 11

Dear Autumn,

Sometimes, it turns out, my sporadic nature works for the better without my even realising it.

On Monday night, while I was not scrolling endlessly through Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram I found myself clicking over onto my scheduled posts here on my blog. And well, there are a lot of November posts with titles just waiting to be written because for the most part all the groundwork is there. They are books that I need to review and some other little bookish things that only require the knowledge that is in my head.

And well, I found myself starting to write them.

I didn’t really think much of it at first, I needed something constructive to do with my time and it seemed like it would be more productive than trying to read with my tired eyes (somehow staring at my laptop screen was better for those very eyes once I had switched to night mode) and not take anything in properly.

Then I realised that if I end up with most of the month’s posts written it is one less thing to worry about having to write come the month itself (which isn’t actually as far away as I would like it to be, for a reason that will become apparent shortly). The most I would have to worry about is sharing the posts on the days that they were posted.

And the reason that it is important is because I am crazy enough to think that attempting NaNo this year is a good idea. Now I am a total pantser when it comes to this endeavour. I never really go in with a plan. In fact in the cases of a couple of years I didn’t even really go in with a solid idea. This year feels a bit different in that respect.

For one I’m being a total rebel and working on something that already has a solid almost 16,000 words to it’s name (not that it actually has a name, but you know what I mean) which means that it is something that already has legs with me. Because of that, and secondly, it means that I am just treating November as a way to bolster my word count. If I can bolster it by 50,000 words then great. If I can’t then that’s also fine, I will just be happy that I managed to get it up by at all. Because unlike before this isn’t an idea that I just came up with for the sake of the month and thought it might work and I should try and write 50,000 words on it with no real direction. This is something that has sat with me for a while and that I keep coming back to. And in my head it has a clear direction, I just need to actually get it down onto paper and really flesh out all the details.

Which is what I am using November to do. And I guess to allow myself the best chance of success my brain was like, ‘hey you should really write some of November’s posts up so you don’t have to then’. And so, while I’ve got some time to truly dedicate to that (as well as reading and just enjoying being by the ocean again) I am going to do just that.

Love,

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 9

Dear Autumn,

So I was writing a review for Sweaty Betty the other day (because what I really needed was another pair of leggings and sports bra) and there’s this little ‘about you’ section that you can fill out next to it and it mentions what activity you do and then it levels you in terms of front, middle or back of class.

It was that part that got me.

I’ve never really put that much thought into what part of the room I stand says about me. I kind of didn’t think it really said anything about me. I just always kind of dropped my bags at the back of the room and then turned around and set up shop wherever that was. Which was almost always at the back of the room. I think part of me had convinced myself that it just made the most sense. If there’s a lot of floor work then it makes sense to be at the back of the room because I take up a lot of space and the back of the room makes that easier to accommodate…in my head.

It turns out that it was probably just another level of a confidence thing that I’d never really thought about before. If I’m at the back of the room then it’s harder for me to get called out for stuff or for other people to notice me. Which is both a good and a bad thing I guess. I can’t get called out on my form if they can’t see me properly, or for giving up a little prematurely (which happens less these days, but still happens). However it has also made sure that I work on making sure that my form isn’t shit and really giving up before the set is done is cheating nobody but myself.

But anyway, back to the confidence thing. Turns out it was that. This past week I’ve forced myself to move further forward in the room, and twice now I’ve ended up straight in front of the instructor. Which horrified me in some ways because they were right. there.

Funnily enough though it turned out fine. My body is waaayyyy ahead of my mind in terms of knowing what it is capable of and actually getting it done. I spent most of Thursday super non-excited for my Lift class that night because Aunt Flow decided she was going to be early and it was too late to cancel so I had to do when all I really wanted to do was go home and be a sloth, but come that evening while I was loading up the barbell I felt the endorphins do their thing and the 45 minutes flew by. Plus on some level it was kind of nice to know that if there was something dodgy with my form (which is definitely a possibility as I am still getting used to lifting) that the instructor was right there to correct me if necessary (it was also good to know that even she was a little shaky when it came to some balance stuff).

There was still that part of me however that felt like I was being watched and judged by the people behind me, which I guess is why I always exist in the back somewhere. I hate that feeling. That people are watching me. That I’m somehow the centre of attention even though I know I’m not. There’s a part of me that always wants to make myself as small and as invisible as possible and I can’t do that if I’m standing in front of people. There’s nowhere to hide when you’re up front. That’s a residual problem from childhood. One that I thought I had gotten over, but apparently hadn’t. So that’s my new challenge to myself.

Because I know from experience that no one is really paying to attention to what anyone else is doing unless they are glancing over to try and figure out what the fuck they’re supposed to be doing next and then they are gonna carry on with their lives and pay you no mind. And I got over myself being my own worse enemy enough to put myself in that environment, so I’m gonna get over this thing that I didn’t even really know was a thing until I indirectly got called out about it.

Love,

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 8

Dear Autumn,

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, but I feel like it’s time to go on a little social media detox.

I have for sure said this before, because I had intended to do it when I went to Greece (which was now two months ago and that in itself sounds horrifying) but then I ended up with fairly good wifi and using data wasn’t extortionate for the first time ever and it just sort of didn’t end up happening, because when you end up with a lot of down time, scrolling through Instagram and sharing a shit ton of memes with a person who is sat right next to you doing the exact same thing is how you pass the time when you’re not reading, or sitting in silence. Or sleeping.

So it didn’t happen.

But that itch to just step back away from it all is still there. I just need to not feel like I am being overwhelmed by everything because for the most part it feels like every time I open up any form of social media I am just being inundated with news that is rarely anything but awful (because yeah for the most part I find out all my news on Twitter…). And it’s weird because it doesn’t feel like it should be that hard, but for some reason it is.

Don’t get me wrong I can spend time away from it, but then when I return to it after a few hours away because I was busy or sleeping, I find myself just continually scrolling back until I am caught up with where I last was. And then I’ve lost a whole chunk of time kind of doing nothing.

There was also a period of time where my brain would just think in ways it could tweet or captions for pictures that didn’t actually exist. Admittedly it was at a pretty shitty time mentally for me and so it felt like my brain was compensating and being like ‘post frothy, pointless stuff that hides the problem’. But it was still there. It still happened like that. It was still the way that my brain operated and thought to resolve the problem rather than tackle the bloody issue head on. (That’s not for now though.)

And I need that to not be the case.

Which should be easy. I mean there was a time when I didn’t even have social media. I remember that time. It wasn’t like I was always on it. I didn’t even create my own Facebook account, a friend at the time did it for me because they thought it was ridiculous that I didn’t have it. People still think that it’s ridiculous that I am no longer on it. It’s weird.

But on that note, I have removed myself from social media in some way before. I’ve felt compelled to return to Facebook only once, and I resisted that urge and now for the most part I don’t miss it. It was a toxic element of my life and I feel better for it not being a part of my life anymore. And it should work the same way for everything else.

Not that they are toxic to me or anything, but in that it shouldn’t be that bloody hard to step away from it all and not spend so much time glued to my phone

I’m going away this week and I think one that I need to get the hell of London because I’m starting to feel worn down by it all and two that I need to not travel all that time only to spend it scrolling endlessly through three different sites. I have things to plan and write and read and I want to not be distracted.

So they’re coming off my phone for a week. I’m blocking them on my Chrome. I’m just having a little digital detox. This blog is gonna be as connected as I get.

And it feels like I shouldn’t need to say that I’m doing it, but I feel like I need to just so that I can call myself out on this whole thing. It’s a bit weird, I know.

Love,

 

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 7

Dear Autumn,

I don’t really know what to say to you today.

It’s the weekend which means I have had slightly more sleep than usual. I’ve got some errands to run and some decluttering to do. I’ve also got to clean up the kitchen and the bathroom and attempt to do some washing. I’ve got to actually think about what to eat for dinner. And lunch.

I’ve got some shoes to pick up and some cardio to do. Because I do that now. Weekend cardio.

I’ve got to start thinking about packing because I’m embarking on a 4 or something hour train journey on Monday morning. I’ve mostly sorted out my book related issue. I’m deviating from the script and then also being very excessive. I also am taking my damn diary with me and a notebook to get some stuff done. Seriously, I have so much time to kill on this journey. I’m gonna use it wisely. If I don’t spend some of it sleeping…(that’s actually not an option, I have to pay attention to stops and shit).

I need to find something to fill the void that was left by the fact that I caught up on both Masterchef Australia and Insecure this week, but that’s for another day.

What isn’t though is that as I write this my eyelids are starting to feel heavy and I’ve reached that point where I should really go to bed but am too tired to move from where I am reclined on the sofa and actually do that…

Love,

 

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Letters to Autumn, My Life

Letters to Autumn 6

Dear Autumn,

I was just minding my own business on Monday when I clicked on my little notifications button in the top right corner and was informed that I have had this little space on the internet for 5 years now.

Half a decade.

This blog was borne out of a university society. It was part of the project for that year or something and it was hardly used. There was no real name for it and the posting was sporadic. I was terrified to push publish every single time my cursor hung over the button. I chickened out of it a lot. I’ve hated this blog and I’ve almost abandoned it oh so many times.

But most of all I’ve loved this thing I’ve created.

It’s almost like a journal in some ways, not in that it is always super personal or anything, although I know it can be, but in the way it chronicles who I am as a writer. Or what my interests were at any given point. It’s a bit weird when I think about it like that, because it wasn’t what I intended this place to be.

I don’t really know what I intended it to be, but it wasn’t this. I didn’t think I would care that much about this. I didn’t think I would feel guilty about not posting or that I would start to push myself to do more on here. I didn’t think that I would invest money in it, or that I would spend so much time painstakingly designing a logo, and still not be happy with it. I didn’t even think it would make it out of uni. I just kind of didn’t think about it. It was a uni project that I let fall away really quickly because the time that I started it was not a good time.

But for whatever reason I didn’t let that happen.

And now, here I am a little bit over 5 years later and it’s still going. And I’m falling a little bit more in love with it as time passes on. I’ve come to enjoy posting on here, even when I kind of hate it…

Love,

 

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My Life

Out of the Habit

Hi, Hey, Hello!

When I returned to this blog at the beginning of the month I changed the way I viewed it and took a lot of pressure of myself for the sake of my sanity and to avoid just churning out an old post for the sake of getting something out on a day to day basis.

Turning that switch off in my head has proved to be incredibly beneficial to the way that I view this blog. I stopped looking at it as some kind of chore and that in turn helped to create a more creative view for myself on it. I started to feel more inspired and more inclined to actually write content and it’s great. There is still a little bit of blogger’s guilt when I do miss a day, or in the case of this last week just go days without posting. But I would rather that then getting home for the day and then writing something that I kind of hate the entire that I am typing it and just letting it post. And I have to keep reminding myself of that on the days where my usual posting time passes and nothing comes with it.

Anyway, thinking about this has all come about because come Sunday I am going back to posting every single day. Every day. For the whole 31 days. Something that I haven’t done since Letters to Spring earlier in the year. Which at this point in the year seems like a distant, distant memory. And it felt kind of hard then even though I was in a better habit with this blog then.

I don’t even really know what to expect from next month at this point. On the one hand I’m not all that worried because the beauty of the month is that it is almost like a diary with the way that I approach it. They don’t have to be all that substantial in terms of content, in that in my head I just feel like I can take a little thing that happened on any given day and then just talk through my thought process in some way. In that respect I pretty much treat this project as a way to keep the cobwebs from building up too much on my writing and just get very Virginia Woolf about it all. And that is something that can take as little as half an hour each day. On the other had though I am kind of terrified of having to get back into the habit of posting every day because it’s not something that I used to doing at this point any more. Hasn’t been for months. And I don’t quite know how I am going to react to it.

I mean I have slowly built up to it in some ways with this month, but then I’ve also really not, given my almost near radio silence for the last week.

For one, I am going to have to really nail the whole being organised thing (more on how that is going later on in the week, see I occasionally have things planned…) and secondly I’m going to have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay if they get a bit more stream of consciousness than usual, that’s the beauty of the project that I decided to partake in and kind of make whatever the hell I want.

Oh, and I also need to remind myself not to repeat myself, so I gotta get better of keeping track what I wrote, which I guess links into the whole being organised thing.

And then I need to start worrying about November…which although themed in my head is also going to still (try) and be an everyday-er kind of job. So far, the month has a lot of book reviews scheduled because those have pretty disappeared recently, but I need to get more bookish ideas that are not that over the next few weeks so it’s literally just a case of writing them up, not thinking of ideas and then trying to figure out what the hell to do with them the day before the post is due.

I’m feeling good about the next couple of months though. So good in fact that I am, yet again, considering taking part in Nano in November. I might cheat juuustttt a little and work on an already existing manuscript,  but if I can get 50,000 words added to that it will be all the closer to actually being a finished thing and that kind of blows my mind. I mean there are a lot of other hurdles to jump over before it gets to that, but I’m doing the damn thing.

But before that I gotta do the damn thing of Letters to Autumn, and also make a modification to my sign off…

Parentheses count: 2. See you next time!

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Beauty, My Life

Skin

Hi, Hey, Hello!

As you may be aware, one of my goals this year is to try and improve the overall condition of my skin. It’s not bad per se, it’s just seems to have plateaued a little and my skin is experiencing a lot more break outs and because of the breakouts and because I am spot picker I am then left with some scarring which means in turn that I have some hyperpigmentation issues.

Which wasn’t bothering me all that much, I mean it was a massive issue 4/5 years ago and it sort of cleared up on its own when I got into a better routine with my skin care, which I strived to do while I was at uni. So I knew it would clear up eventually and didn’t pay much mind to it. And then I went to see a doctor (about something unrelated to my skin) and he mentioned that he could prescribe some medication to deal with the scarring and to prevent any future related acne breakouts.

Now, I don’t have acne but he seemed to convince me that going on medication was a good idea. I lasted all of a week, if that. The serum that was prescribed made my skin super irritated and caused this rash like thing to happen right on my cheek and I kept forgetting to take the tablet first thing in the morning and I realised that I didn’t care that much. I did a bit of reading around it and apparently sometimes skin can react that way, but seriously, I do not care that much.

Once I stopped using the serum it took nearly 2 weeks for the red to go down and become this almost scab like thing and then it faded away to something akin to my normal skin colour. It was grim. I hated it. It made my skin worse. At one point it actually burned to just use my everyday skin care routine so it all seemed to rather redundant. And then after that debacle I sort of just lived my life and kept it as it is, because for the most part it was working.

Until I just would not stop breaking out and I started to look for solutions. The obvious one was Tea Tree Oil and then I started looking at what ones were available and in the end I just picked up Grease Lightning from Lush because the rest of my skin care is from Lush so I trust them, and also I was in there picking something else up so it was a full on impulse buy. For the most part it is helping with drying out breakouts and they don’t stick around for as long, and that means that I have less chance to pick them so there isn’t so much new scarring. Always a bonus.

Which brings me on to the next product that I have also introduced to my night time skin care. Vitamin E oil. I use a Superdrug one, which I kind of picked up on a whim when I was picking up some other bits and pieces but was also on the hunt to finally see if that whole putting oil on oily skin thing actually works. Firstly, it doesn’t leave my skin feeling even oiler which is great, in fact I think it is actually controlling my T-zone which used to become super shiny by lunchtime, if I was lucky. It’s also very light and doesn’t require that much per use, which is great. In fact I think I’ve been using the same 30ml bottle for about 6 weeks and it’s still going. It cost me less than £3, so that’s great to.

Beyond seeming to keep the T-zone in check, it does appear to helping to clear my skin up. I mean I wasn’t expecting overnight results or anything, and I made the mistake of not truly capturing what my skin looked like before I introduced the two new products so I don’t have a direct comparison, but it does appear to have freshened and cleared up my complexion a bit.

Which was confirmed to me earlier this week when someone at work said that my skin was looking so much better. So clearly it’s doing something, whether I truly notice the changes or not and it can only really be down to them because I’ve not made any other drastic changes. I mean I’ve increased my caffeine intake and have upped my fruit and veg consumption but none of them have been as sustained as the night time skin care routine.

So, I would definitely credit it to them on some level. And also, I have gone back to genuinely not being fussed by them, if I was then I would take the time to wake up a bit earlier so that I can put some foundation on and cover it up (which I can now do because I have finally lost enough of my tan to be able to use by secondary foundation) and I don’t do that. In fact I’m mildly annoyed that I let it get to me in the first place, because I did for no real reason.

I’m just gonna keep going with what I am doing. Maybe. I also feel like my skin has sort of plateaued again and I’m trying to figure out whether I want to switch it up again…Glossier is released here soon and I’ve heard good things about their skin care products and I always like trying new things. Although, I am also partly of the belief that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

We’ll see.

Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!


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