Online Validation and Self-Worth

I'm coming at you with this post after a week long blogging break, something that I should probably have done a long time ago, but I'm someone who enjoys order so I like the fact that I have two set days a week that I post and I love the fact that up until last week I've never missed a post. What I don't like is that this has led to me view blogging as more of a chore and something that I 'have to get done'. At a time when I'm really enjoying work and life in general, my blog was the one thing that I felt was bringing me down, which is odd because I love writing and I love this little space on the internet that I've created. So I took a step back, had a break and thought about why. Why is something I enjoy making me feel stressed and under pressure and generally a bit 'meh'? 

I love the moments of pride that come with blogging - the posts that get a lot of shares, the feeling that you've finally created something worth reading, the first time one of your Instagram pictures gets triple figure likes - it can be a very rewarding process. But with the ups come the downs and what I've come to realise is that I, along with many others I'm sure, had started to base my own self-worth solely on online validation. I only felt worthy if people who I've never met in real life made me feel so. Pretty dangerous no? 

It feels great to write a post that gets fifty comments; they're all positive, you're chuffed to the moon and back that this many people are engaging with your content and you get that little warm buzz that comes with knowing that people like what you're doing. That's all well and good, but what happens when you write a post that only gets four comments? In reality, you should probably just brush it off and think 'well hey, that obviously wasn't my best writing or the most interesting topic' and realise that it's not all about numbers. But instead of thinking about it in terms of the content decision you've made, you start to take it personally (I'm saying 'you' here and I'm not quite sure why because I'm talking about myself obvs). Instead of thinking 'my writing/photography in that post wasn't very good' you start thinking 'I'm not very good.'

Another big part of this is Instagram. Everyone and their neighbour's dog has had a fall in engagement on Instagram recently, but it's another thing that's easy to take personally when you've been basing your self-worth on it. I don't know when that starts, but I suppose when you've had growth in followers/engagement/likes for a while you start to crave it and rely on it to make you feel good about yourself. You start to see every like as someone liking you as a person rather than just liking that one picture. So when the likes begin to dwindle? When the followers start unfollowing? It's a blow to your ego because it makes you feel like people are starting to dislike you and that you're not worth anyone's time. 

All of the above is absolutely ridiculous and it's all come because I've fallen into the trap of online validation making me feel good about myself so when that validation doesn't come I feel bad, 'meh' and 'what's the point?' I think this has affected my content in a way - I'm writing things I think people will like instead of the things I want to write about, which come far easier to me and probably result in much better posts. So I'm going to make a change. I'm going to blog to seek validation from myself rather than other people online. I'm not going to publish a post unless I'm happy with it, not just when I think other people might like it. And I'm going to focus less on numbers, or at least try to (harder than it seems isn't it?) and throw myself back into blogging hopefully recharged, with renewed motivation and with less desperation for online validation.

Have you ever based your self-worth on online validation?

Amy x

A Love Affair With Primark

I'm aware the title of this post is a little bit overdramatic, but I couldn't exactly call it 'I quite like Primark at the moment' could I? Doesn't quite have the same ring to it. But that's what this post is basically about. I quite like Primark at the moment, well actually I bloomin' love it. It seems to have happened all of a sudden and I don't know if it's because I've just been going in more often or if the stuff is actually just reallllllly good right now. Maybe both. I have found myself wandering over there in my lunch break more times than I've needed to (what else is there to do on lunch breaks?) and usually I end up buying something because it's so cheap I can actually justify it for once and not feel all that guilty about spending money.

Thinking about it, maybe the title of this blog post is rather fitting because what I have with Primark is a bit of a love affair. When it first opened in Hull it was the place to shop because hey look I can get a pair of flowery leggings for a fiver and also some white platform heels for a tenner and aren't I just gonna look the bommmb at the next sixth form party? Fast forward a few years and I only really went there if I needed something cheap for a fancy dress party or if I needed work shoes that were going to get wrecked within weeks anyway. While I was at uni I stayed well clear of the Primark when I was shopping in central London because it was always so busy and overwhelming and I just didn't have the patience to look round it. So although I wouldn't say I ever hated it, I definitely fell out of love with it for a while.

Fast forward again to today and as I said, I'm, bloomin' loving it so I thought I'd share my favourite recent purchase on here, which is this jumpsuit. It's that check pattern that I love, which may or may not be called plaid? I'm not sure, definitely don't come to me for any fashion lingo, but I like it. It's also perfect for layering, in fact I imagine it's supposed to be layered and it's roomy enough to fit a jumper underneath if you wanted to. I actually didn't feel too cold braving a culotte jumpsuit at this time of year, but because this one goes so well with black I feel like it'd be fine with black tights worn underneath anyway so it should be wearable right into winter. I layered it underneath this black polo neck on this occasion, but I can imagine it looking great over a white tee too and possibly even layered over my fave orange jumper.

Are you a Primark fan?

Amy x

Little Corners of My Bedroom

I wasn't planning on doing another interiors post so soon after my last mammoth one about our renovation process so far, but I did one of those Instagram poll thangs and you guys said you'd rather see pictures of my house than pictures of me and, well, I don't blame you really. So, similar to this post I did about my favourite parts of our kitchen I decided to do one about my favourite little features in the bedroom. And just a word of warning, this is basically a post all about plants. Soz. 

Plant Ledge | When we first moved in I commented that the small ledge on top of our inbuilt wardrobe would make an excellent place to put plants and once the cats came we had to move most of the plants out of reach because some of them are poisonous and even if they're not one of our cats has a penchant for nibbling plants and then sicking them back up again (it's fun in our house),  but anyway it meant I finally got my wish of using the ledge as a plant ledge! As a self-confessed plant lady, it's definitely one of my favourite little touches in the bedroom. I love having plants where you don't necessarily expect to see them! 

Fireplace | I mean, obviously. I have done a whole post on our fireplace before, but it was such a long time ago that I think it's definitely justified to talk about it again. The fireplaces in the bedroom and the spare bedroom were the best finds in this house because we didn't actually know they were there when we bought the house as they'd both been boarded up so we were very lucky to find such beautiful ones with original tiling too! The fireplace needed cleaning up and repainting and although not all of the tiles came completely clean (trust me, after hours of scrubbing, it can't be done) it still looks beautiful. On the mantlepiece I've got some plants (obviously) and some pictures. One of the paintings was done by my grandad and was given to me by my grandma when he died so that's very special and the other is by my best friend and I'm sure it'll be worth millions one day. The mirror above the fireplace is still one of my favourite things in the whole house - it came from my grandparents' house (on the other side of the family as the painting) and I've seen similar ones in vintage shops for much moneys so we're lucky to have it. 

Dressing Table | I have a post on how I upcycled this table here (and when I say upcycled I mean I sanded it down and painted it...counts right?). Let's ignore the fact that I've also nicked these photos from that post because it got dark before I could get good ones of it now (probably a blessing in disguise because all that's changed is it's more cluttered and also slightly makeup stained). Anyway, I've always had this grand idea of having a beautiful dressing table in my house and I finally got one when we moved into this house. Yay to not having to sit on the floor by my full-length mirror to do my makeup anymore! It's quite small, but this was the only space we had for it to go and I'm not much of a makeup hoarder so I don't really need a big one. I sit at it every single day and its position means I get good lighting from each side, but I'm generally shielded from view of the neighbours. 

So there we have it, a few of my favourite parts of our bedroom. I might do this kind of post for every room in our house so let me know if that's something you'd be interested in seeing!

Amy x 

House Renovation | Two Years On

So tomorrow marks two years since we got the keys to our house. I'm not quite sure what was going through our heads when we bought this house - after six months of viewing houses and turning heaps down because 'it needs a new bathroom' or 'it was a bit tatty' we ended up buying one that was borderline unliveable in and needed absolutely everything doing to it. Aren't we silly? It's been extremely rewarding though and I would recommend renovating a house to anyone - not only does it mean you can put completely your own stamp on it but it also saves a lot of money (to put it into perspective, what we paid for our house and the renovations put together is still roughly £40k less than buying a house in the same area done up to the standard we're doing ours to). *Smug face*

When we moved in our goal was to have it finished within the two year mark. I'm sad to say we didn't achieve that, but when we're doing the majority of the work ourselves while both working full time and also trying to stay sane that was probably an unrealistic goal in the first place. Naturally we've slowed down, both for financial reasons and because we've got enough rooms finished now that there isn't the same urgency as when we first moved in to make spaces liveable. If you're interested in reading any of the transformation posts I did along the way I'll link them below in the order we did the rooms along with some current pictures of each one.

Bedroom | Transformation post here

We decided to work from the upstairs down for the simple practical reason that we didn't want to have to carry rubble or trample dust through downstairs if it was done nicely. We obviously chose to start with the bedroom so we'd have somewhere nice to sleep, which if you're a fellow DIY-er you'll know is an extremely important thing at the end of a long day's renovating. Because it was the first room we did we were still learning as we went along so it took us a good few months. We even started off stripping the four layers of wallpaper with hot water and a cloth until we realised it would probably be worth paying £20 for a steamer just so it didn't take a whole month to strip the walls. We also wasted some time stripping wallpaper off a wall that we then decided to take down to make it one big room instead of a bedroom and dressing room (forever bitter that I didn't get my dressing room, but it was 100% the right thing to do). Anyway I won't speak about it too much because all the nitty gritty detail is in the original post, but at some point soon I might do a post on my favourite parts of our bedroom and just generally an update - it's a lot more cluttered now than in the original photos!

Bathroom | Transformation post here

We kind of did the bathroom alongside the bedroom as most of the work in there was done by a plumber and tiler so they worked on the bathroom while we worked on the bedroom (although if we knew what we do now we would definitely do this ourselves). The bathroom was the main room that needed doing because there wasn't a shower and I felt a little weird about having a bath in a tub that had obviously been there since the 70s. Although the bathroom was pretty much done within a couple of months we had to wait what seemed like forever to paint it because we discovered a damp patch and we had to wait for it to dry out in what is the wettest room in the whole house. Although the bathroom is small I love it, plus it's my least favourite room to clean so the smaller the better.

Office | Transformation post here

Technically this is a little bedroom at the back of the house, but it's one of those awkward rooms that doesn't really have any logical place for a bed in it so we made it into a little office/study. Shockingly for a blogger, I didn't want to go all white and instead we went for a kind of 'old library' feel (just with absolutely no books whatsoever) so the walls are a browney beige colour and the rug and other accents in the room are all red. It's made it a really cosy room so it's very nice to light a candle and blog from (which is actually my current situation).

Temporary living room/spare bedroom | Transformation post here

This is the main reason we're taking so long to do anything to the actual living room - we have a temporary one with TV, sofa and all. It doubles up as a spare bedroom because our sofa is a sofa bed so technically we don't ever need to do up the living room right? This is actually possibly my favourite room in the house, to the point where when we change it into a full time spare bedroom I might want to sleep in it.

Kitchen | Transformation post here

And most recently of course, we finished our kitchen. I'll say pretty much nothing about this because I've spoken about it a fair amount on here already, but what I will say is that this room is proof that renovations always take longer than you think they will. 

So, watch this space for the living room transformation, but don't hold your breath for it anytime soon!

Would you ever renovate a house?

Amy x

Autumn Wardrobe Staples

I remember back when I said to myself that I'd do one of these seasonal staples post every, well, season, but it would appear I've not actually done one since last winter. My bad. But here I am with an autumn one because there are certain things I've been turning to more frequently since the weather turned a little colder so I thought I'd share them in a lil' outfit on here. I looked back at last year's autumn staples post and surprisingly this one doesn't consist of exactly the same outfit (although it's one I definitely still wear so it certainly could have done), but anyway as usual these are just my autumn wardrobe staples, not a post telling you all what you should be wearing cause we all know that ain't my style.

Oversized jumpers | I mean, obviously. It can't be just me that gets excited about knitwear and the bigger the better in my opinion. I got this jumper two years ago and I still love it. I bought it in a large purposefully so it was oversized which means it's super cosy. It's also cream so goes with everything and I plan to wear it a lot over the coming months along with the rest of my ever growing knitwear collection.

Checks | I am a big fan of checks at the moment. I don't exactly know what this specific check is called or if it has a name, but you know the kind of check I mean right? (If you don't, I mean the check that's on my trousers in this post, I'm sure you got that...) They're everywhere at the moment which I love. I've already picked up a check blazer, a check jumpsuit and these beaut check trousers that were such a bargain from Primark that when I tried them on at home and realised they were too big I couldn't be bothered to take them back and instead safety pin them together every time I wear them. Glam.

Ankle boots | OK so these boots were definitely in last year's autumn wardrobe staples post, although these are actually a newer pair (of almost the exact same boot that's true). As much as I'd love a pair of over the knee or even knee length boots, I really struggle to get some that are a) the correct length for my short legs but b) wide enough to actually go round my calves. Luckily though I do love a good ankle boot so these are a definite staple for me - to the point where I've worn them for every outfit post in October bar one. Note to self: must buy some new ankle boots so that I don't just wear these non stop until May.

Layers | I'm loving layering at the moment, not only because of the British weather not being able to make its mind up, but also aesthetically. I'm especially loving shirts under jumpers, more specifically a denim shirt under this cream jumper. I don't know what it is about this outfit because really it's quite oversized and shapeless, but it just makes me feel put together and sassy in a 'yeah I just threw this on' kinda way (even though I definitely didn't, I thought long and hard about putting it together).

What are your staples this autumn?

Amy x