Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Achieving Balance As An Introvert

Oh hey, hi, yes it's me writing yet another post about being an introvert/quiet/shy.

Introversion seems to be a common trait among bloggers, maybe because we all prefer to write things down somewhere someone might read them rather than actually having to directly speak to someone. Seriously though, why is it so much easier to write than speak? But anyway, what I wanted to talk about is achieving balance as an introvert and how I do that. Quite often I'll feel torn between wanting to push myself out of my comfort zone and just doing what I know I'll enjoy. Obviously if we all stuck to the things we knew we were going to enjoy (like erm, staying in bed and reading a book) we'd never find other things we like or meet new people who could become good friends. At the same time, it's also OK to do what you want sometimes, if we were forever pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone it would be exhausting so a balance of the two is ideally what we want.

So how do I achieve balance personally?

T R U S T I N G  M Y  G U T  |  Generally, I know what I'll like even if I don't want to do it. I'm not sure if that makes sense so here's an example. Maybe I've been invited on a night out. There'll be a big group of people, some of whom I won't know all that well and it'll end in a club. I know straight away that the reason I'm turning that down isn't because I'm an introvert, it's because it's something I won't enjoy. But here's a different scenario. I've been invited to a blog event. Nobody I know is going and I know I'll feel horrendously nervous and probably overthink everything I'm doing/saying and generally feel like an idiot. BUT, I will meet like-minded people, some of whom I'll hopefully become friends with and it could benefit me both personally and professionally. My gut will tell me no to the first scenario, but yes to the second so I've learnt to trust it.

G E T T I N G  T O  K N O W  M Y S E L F  |  It's taken me a while to know straight away what I will and won't enjoy. Basically, there's a lot of trial and error involved. I went on a fair few nights out that I didn't enjoy before I realised that it wasn't just me being shy, it was me not liking nights out. On the other hand it's also taken a lot of pushing myself out of my comfort zone to work out what pays off and what doesn't.

L I K E- M I N D E D  P E O P L E  |  I'm not saying introverts should only hang out with introverts, but rather that I like being with people who get it. I'm not very good at getting involved with conversations in big groups of people so I like being with people who will make an effort to involve me. I also take a while to warm up (I mean metaphorically although I do also have super bad circulation, not sure why I felt the need to tell you that) so I need people to give me a chance rather than writing me off as boring straight away. I can't put my finger on what it is that makes me feel at ease with certain people and not with others, but finding 'your people' will help in so many situations.

I think the biggest thing I've learnt from trying to find balance is that it's OK if I just don't feel like it. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is great, but push yourself too far and it doesn't pay off at all. At the moment I think I've found a pretty happy balance though.

Boots - Missguided (similar) | Jeans - Topshop (here| Blouse - H&M (old) | Bag - Fiorelli (old)

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Amy x

Photos: Ashton Gibbs


Sunday, 14 January 2018

To The Friendships We Leave Behind

Recently someone I used to be best friends with got engaged. I was so happy for her, just as happy as I would have been if we were still really good friends and I was also kinda sad that I could only be happy for her and not be happy with her. It got me thinking about friendship and all the potential friends for life I've let go along the way. 

When we're younger we have a very idealised view of friendship. At school I had quite a lot of close friends and I assumed that I could stay close friends with them all because why wouldn't I? In reality, there's only room in our lives for so many people and along the rickety path that is life we lose relationships for various reasons. Some people we let go because they're not good for us, they don't make us the best version of ourselves and the friendship isn't actually there anymore. But this post isn't about those ones. This post is for the friendships that fell by the wayside for no other reason but circumstance.

This post is for the newly engaged friend who knew how to bring shy introverted me out of her shell, made every little thing into an adventure and made me laugh on a daily basis, but whose friendship was left behind due to physical distance and, ultimately, a lack of effort from both of us.

It's for the uni girls who I lived with for two years, shared food, clothes and the innermost details of my life with, but who I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to keep in touch with.

For my first ever best friend, the one I started school with, had my first sleepover with and the one who will always feel like a best friend, despite only having seen each other a handful of times in the past ten years.

For the friend I should have been there for, but who I just let slip away when she needed me most.

For my old gym buddy, the one I sweated with, laughed the most with, the one I was there for when she needed me most, but the one who knew as well as I did that our friendship wouldn't last the long haul.

For the childhood friend I looked up to, wrote silly notes about boys with and drank my first beer with. Circumstance took our friendship away, but also brought it back again a few years later. She's the one who almost got away.

I think it's a common opinion that if we're not friends with someone anymore it's because we're not meant to be and that there's always a reason, but I don't think that's necessarily true. I think in different circumstances I could still be friends with any one of those listed above, something that's only proved by the rekindling of the last one. So here's to the friendships we leave behind, but also to not being sad at what could have been because leaving some friendships behind only means we have more time to dedicate to the ones we still have.

Amy x

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Stepping Out Of My (Style) Comfort Zone

After making a rather large song and dance in this post about not making any new year's resolutions, there is one thing I'd like to push myself to do in 2018 and that's step out of my style comfort zone. Recently when I've been browsing online or in the shops, nothing has really leapt out at me as a piece I'd really love to own and it's been ages since I've felt that ohmygodthat'samazingIhavetohaveit feeling (if you love clothes too, you'll know the feeling I mean). I think the reason for this is that I've slipped into a definite comfort zone when it comes to styling my outfits and actually I'm kinda bored of it. I'm browsing through things that I know will suit me and that I know I'll like, but that often means that I'm not excited by anything because it's similar to something I already have or it just feels familiar

I'm a big advocate of personal style, but lately I've had to remind myself that personal style doesn't mean finding one style and sticking to it, it means whatever you want it to and I need to keep experimenting with mine to feel like me. Who knows if that last sentence even made sense eh?

Anyway, when I placed my inevitable Asos sale order I didn't refine the search to the things I normally would that would restrict me, I trawled through pretty much everything and chose the things that actually stood out to me. I didn't think about whether they would suit me or whether it'd be something I'd usually wear, I simply picked what I liked and ordered it (well not everything, that would be a hefty order). Although I sent a fair few things back (who doesn't?) I don't think I sent as much back as I usually do and I certainly don't find my picks boring so that's a good start.

These grey harem (is it harem or hareem? Not like I blog about style or anything is it...) trousers caught my eye aaaages ago, they've been in my saved items for at least a couple of months. I loved them, but they were just a liiil bit pricey for me so when they went in the sale I was mega chuffed. They're a style of trouser that I wouldn't usually go for, with my hips and thighs being the largest part of my body already I generally don't like to draw more attention there, but despite some original hesitations that they make me look like I'm wearing a nappy, I love them. Because they're more tailored towards the bottom I actually find them quite flattering especially with a relatively tight-fitted top tucked in.

Then these rusty red coloured shoes called out to me and I imagined them with the trousers and realised it was meant to be. I have no idea when I will actually wear these shoes, but when I do I'll feel bloody excellent in them. There's nothing like a pair of red heels to release your inner sass. Before shooting these photos we went to B&Q and Sainsbury's and I was like 'yesss I'm the type of person who goes food shopping in red heels' even though lol I'm definitely not.

The bag is another Asos sale pick that I was worried was a little tacky, but hey, I love it so even if it is I don't care. To offset the fact that I'm wearing a few items that were out of my comfort zone, I popped on two of my most worn items in my wardrobe, which brought the outfit back to something which felt very 'me'. My breton top from Boden is possibly my best ever investment, my price per wear is probably down to about 0.0001p. This grey coat is a good few years old now, but it's still one of my favourite winter coats and, fun fact, I wore it in my first ever outfit post on this blog (here if you want a laugh - I almost didn't include the link because major cringe).

Trousers - Asos (here| Top - Boden (here) | Shoes - Asos (here| Bag - Asos (out of stock)

Do you ever go out of your comfort zone?

Amy x

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Adding Plants To Your Home

It's not exactly a secret that I'm a bit of a house plant hoarder. I'm not sure when my obsession began, but it definitely escalated once we had our own house because what is your own house even for if not for filling with house plants?! When I asked on Instagram if there were any interiors posts you guys would like to see there was a definite house plant theme and I'm surprised it's a topic I've not covered before. I definitely can't say I'm an expert, not all of my house plants live (although more of them live than die so that's something right?) and I can't even pretend to know what they're all called, but I do have a lot of them and I've learnt a little along the way on how I like to style them in my home. I don't really like doing 'how to' posts because you can style yourself, your house or anything else however you wish, but this is just how I prefer to style house plants in my home and what works best for me!

G R O U P  T H E M  T O G E T H E R  |  I started out by having a single plant on pretty much every surface I could find in our house, but as we've been renovating each room and thinking more about the finishing touches, I've found that they make more of an impact and are more of a focal point when grouped together. It also looks more purposeful and, oddly, less cluttered because they're organised as a display. My favourite display, which I've shown off heaps both on here and on Instagram is the plant ledge in our bedroom, which is where the built in wardrobe conveniently protudes out a little. I've recently replicated it on the other wardrobe in our bedroom, which is directly opposite and pleases my love of symmetry very much.

C O N S I D E R  E V E R Y  P O S S I B L E  S P A C E  |  It's very easy when deciding where to place house plants to think 'well there's a chest of drawers/table/shelf, I'll pop it on there', but I often try and think outside the box. Could it be hung somewhere? Could it go higher than you'd expect? One of my favourite little spots is on our sash windows - because the frames are quite deep I can fit some little ones right in the middle of them where the sash would slide up (I just have to remember to never slide it all the way up!).

P U T  T H E M  S O M E W H E R E  U N E X P E C T E D  |  One of my favourite plants in our whole house is the money plant on our kitchen peninsula wedged between our kettle and coffee machine. You wouldn't usually expect to see a plant on a kitchen worktop, but this one just suited the space so well and added a touch of green to an otherwise plain space. I guess this goes hand in hand with the last point in that it involves thinking outside of the box, although the money plant was kind of an accident as I had just popped it on the worktop when I got in the house before deciding where to put it and it stayed there!

C R E A T E  A  B I G G E R  D I S P L A Y  |  Before you say I've already made this point, by bigger I mean including other things that aren't plants. I love pairing together plants and prints as well as candles and any other trinkets I can gather together! So far I only have small propped up prints next to plants, but I can't wait until we finish our living room so I can have a print wall along with some huge plants (and hopefully some sort of hanging plant extravaganza too - watch this space!).

C O N S I D E R  P E T S  |  This is a biggie and one that forced me to think outside the box a lot. If you have pets it's majorly important to know what kinds of plants are poisonous to them. I only have a couple of poisonous ones and these are all out of reach and in the bedroom, which the cats are only allowed in supervised. Even plants that aren't poisonous can still make pets ill if they have a nibble (one of our cats loves eating plants even though they make him vom every single time, which is just lovely) so we try and keep all of our plants either out of reach or somewhere they don't go (like the bathroom). Unfortunately this means any plans for floor displays are definitely compromised, but it's something that really needs to be considered when styling plants in your home. 

Do you have any rules for styling your house plants?

Amy x

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

New Year, Same Burnt Out Me

Often a brand new year brings with it renewed optimism, motivation, a desire to kick bad habits and adopt better ones. People set resolutions, gym memberships soar, everyone starts aiming for self-improvement. It can be a very positive time of year in many ways and I'm often the first to jump on the bandwagon of healthier eating (this year I'm doing veganuary), but with a new year comes an awful lot of pressure; pressure to make resolutions, to get yourself in the gym, to have a blog strategy for the year ahead etc etc.

I think it's great to use the new year as an excuse to better yourself and if you've made resolutions then good for you. I'm trying not to be a negative nelly in this post, but what I do want to get across is that it's OK if you haven't made resolutions, it's OK if you haven't joined a gym, it's OK if you don't have that blog strategy. Because for me, at the moment, I feel like I put so much time and energy into being the person I already am and doing the things I already do, that aiming for anything more would result in complete and utter burnout. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. I think we place a huge amount of guilt on ourselves when we don't improve at something, which means we're trying so hard all year round and not cutting ourselves any slack. It's important to remember that we are already enough.

I haven't entered the new year with heaps of motivation because I'm tired. I guess that probably means that my resolution needs to be to wake myself up a bit and I think I need to start by doing less rather than aiming for more. I'm pretty good at preaching about the importance of 'down time', but it's not actually all that often that I have it. I might Instagram a picture of my dreamy bath, but I'm probably sat in said bath making a list in my head of all the things I need to do when I get out of it and then feeling guilty for having a bath when I could have done three of the things on my to do list instead. I spend my weekends cleaning, doing DIY or blogging and I see doing 'nothing' as a waste of time because just think of all the things I could achieve during my morning of 'nothing'.

What I need to realise is that my to do list will never be fully ticked off, there are always things to do. Everyone else has a similar amount of things to do, so why do I struggle so much to not only do them all, but also give myself some chill time as well? In reality I think the only difference is that some people can put their to do list aside, forget about it and relax. I can put my to do list aside, but I can't forget about it and relaxing? What's that? So, after starting this post saying that I'm not making any resolutions, I'm going to end it by saying that I've changed my mind. I'm making just one. My new year's resolution is to not only make time for me, but to not feel guilty about it. Self-care is pretty important and it's time I actually took it seriously.

Jumper - Fashion Union (similar) | Trousers - New Look (similar) | Boots - Missguided (here) | Bag - Fiorelli (old)

Have you made any resolutions?

Amy x
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