Five Things I Did In January

I've decided that this year I want to write monthly round up posts. Originally, I was going to call them monthly achievements, but I realised as I started writing this that I also just wanted to share some good times from January and things that I've done so they're just going to be a mixture of little things I've achieved alongside things I've loved. So without further ado, here are my five things from January. 

I went vegan for the month | Definitely my greatest achievement this month was taking part in veganuary  (unless I do something radical and stuff my face with cheese today) - I'm sure you've heard of it, but if you haven't it's basically a campaign that encourages people to eat vegan for the month. I actually decided quite last minute (just before Christmas) that it was something I wanted to do so I didn't have all that much time to prepare myself or research before I was doing it. My reasons for taking part were mainly environmental, but I feel like I've learnt so much over the month about the meat and dairy industry that I'm going to try to incorporate more vegan meals into my diet permanently. For health reasons that I won't bore you with I knew it would never be something I could do full time, but my vague plan going forward is to only eat meat once a week and pretty much cut out dairy altogether. 

I spoke at my grandad's funeral | I don't have much to say about this apart from that I didn't think I'd ever speak at anyone's funeral, but I read something out together with my dad and I'm very glad that I did.

I went to another blog event | At the beginning of January I attended #BlogAtTheBeach in Leeds. I've been to one of Ice Lolly's events before and they're my favourites because I always learn so much. The speakers were amazing this year and I left feeling so motivated blog-wise after what felt like a good few months of feeling a little disheartened.  I got to see some of my favourite blogger babes, met some new ones and spent some time in Leeds being ultimate blogger cliches with Ashton and Kirsty

I started directing at work | If you didn't know, I work in TV and this month I started my director training. It's very exciting, slightly nerve-wracking and completely out of my comfort zone, but I'm loving it so far. Most regions (I work in regional news) have separate directors and vision mixers, but ours just has one person doing both jobs so it's nice and busy. 

I saw my uni girls in London | At the weekend I went to London to meet up with my friends from uni. We went to the theatre then went for a massive catch up over dinner and drinks, the kind of catch up that only happens when you're all a little bit tiddly (i.e. the best kind). It was the first time in a while that I've thought I'd quite like to live in London again someday. I doubt that will ever happen, but nothing beats the London vibe.

What did you achieve or enjoy this month?

Amy x

I'm A Woman In A Rush

This is one of those posts I've been wanting to write for ages, it's been sat in my ideas bank waiting for the day I sit down and decide I can do it some justice. The thing is, it's one of those topics that however I write it, I'll never feel that I've done it justice or conveyed exactly what I'm trying to say eloquently enough. So I'm here to write it anyway and hope for the best because it's something I've really been wanting to talk about.

Along with probably most women in their mid-late twenties, or most women of any age really, I've got a long list of things I'd like to achieve. Let's take work. I'd like a promotion. I'd like to get really really good at the job that I do. I'd like to get experience within other areas of the industry. Alongside this I'd also like to develop my blog. I'd like to improve my photography. I'd like to work with more brands. I'd like to start viewing my blog as a side business rather than just a hobby. That all sounds like hard work so I'd also like to travel more, see the world, visit lots of exciting places. And when I say lots of places, I mean lots of places. But I'd also like to start a family in the next few years. I'd like to have a baby by the time I'm thirty, which realistically is quite soon. And that's just the big things, I have countless other little things I'd like to do too. So as I said, I've got a long list of things I'd like to achieve. 

Since my early twenties I've always felt this kind of pressure, to be doing and achieving and not wasting a second of precious time because I thought my achievements had an end date. In my mind, I needed to be at the top of my game at work, have a side hustle to fall back on if I needed to and have traveled everywhere I wanted to go before starting a family. For some reason I thought everything else would fall by the wayside once that happened so I've been in something of a rush. And am I anywhere near to being where I want to be? No, of course I'm not because I'm only twenty seven. Yet I feel like I'm running out of time. I'm on the right track at work for sure, but it'll be a couple of years before I get where I really want to be (and that's only in my current job) and I'm afraid of being written off for development if I get pregnant.

 Are my worries valid? Probably not. No, I won't be jetting off to exotic locations when I have children, but that doesn't mean I can't once they're older and I'll probably be in a better financial situation to do so then anyway. And I'm not planning to quit my job or my blog so why wouldn't both of those things continue to develop too? I've been in a rush to try and do everything for the past seven years, when actually I need to remember that I have my whole life to achieve all of these things and I don't need to cram them all in. (I'd just like to clarify by the way that I'm not even planning to get pregnant anytime soon - sorry if you got excited mum - so the fact that I'm even worrying about these things is really quite ridiculous.)   

So because I've been in a rush to do everything I've not got anything done. The problem with being in a rush is that you don't have any focus (I'm doing that thing again when I say 'you' instead of 'I' because for some reason I seem to like to pretend it's you guys with the problem and not me) so it's maybe not that I don't get anything done, but more that I'm not getting anything done very well. And I'll continue to not do things well if I don't slow down a little. There's no point in learning new things at work if I don't learn them well and if I'm rushing then I won't. There's no point in rushing into brand collaborations that aren't right for me just to feel like I'm taking my blog to the next level (although I would never accept a collaboration that I wasn't 100% happy with). Yes, I have a long list of things I want to achieve, but I've got a long time to tick them all off and I'll only do a bad job at all of them if I try and do them too quickly. 

Amy x

Finding Your Personal (Home) Style

With so many interior styles it's difficult to know which one to choose for your own home. You only have to scroll through Pinterest to come across hundreds of different bathroom/kitchen/bedroom styles you love, but most of us only actually have one house to decorate so we need to whittle down all our ideas into just one. I'm a big advocate of personal style and I think this concept applies to interiors just as much as it does fashion, but just as with fashion you've got to find 'your style' and sometimes that takes a little experimentation. Saying that, you can't really put in a bathroom and then change your mind and I personally find it quite scary committing to a certain style even when I know I'll love it. In this post I thought I'd have a little chat through how I've found my personal home style (for now).

T A K E  I N S P I R A T I O N  F R O M  T H E  H O U S E  |  If we'd bought a brand new house I have no doubt that we would have decorated it completely differently to the one we have. Obviously if you can clash styles and make it look amazing then you do you, but personally it helped to build our style around the house, while putting a slightly modern spin on it. Our house is over a hundred years old, it still has a fair few original features such as fireplaces so we wanted to exploit them as much as possible so that it actually looks like an old house, but at the same time modernise it into something that works for us. So while we've exposed the fireplaces, reinstated the floorboards where possible and added coving where there wasn't any, we've also opened up the living room, made the colour scheme a bit more muted than it would have been back in the day and made it functional for everyday.

P I N T E R E S T  |  I realise that I said at the beginning of this post that Pinterest can be a hindrance because there are just SO MANY amazing things on there (and I quite often wish I had ten houses so I could try all the ideas I like), but if you create a dedicated board and pin everything you like then look back over it, you'll start to see some common themes appearing. For example, I pinned a lot of bathroom styles, but at least half of them included white metro style tiles so I was pretty certain that was something I wanted to go with. The more you pin, the more you notice patterns and come to recognise your style. 

I N J E C T  Y O U R  P E R S O N A L I T Y  |  The thing that really makes your home style personal to you is how you put your personality into it. I'm sure lots of people have exactly the same IKEA kitchen as we do, but it's the accessories and the personal touches that really make it your own. For us that means a lot of house plants, but I also like including unique things that are personal to us - photographs are the obvious one, but I also have a few original prints by friends and family that I love having on display. 

T R I A L  A N D  E R R O R  |  As I've already said, this only works to a certain extent. You can't really trial the big things like your bathroom or kitchen and then decide you don't like them (unless you have an extremely large pot of disposable money then go for it), but it does work with things like paint colours and the like. It's an annoyance because it does mean losing out on a bit of money, but it's worth changing if you're not happy with it. We're nearly at the end of our project and there's one room where, although I love the paint colour, it really doesn't fit with the rest of the house so I think we'll repaint it at some point. What trial and error does work really well with is accessories and where to put them/how to style them together. I could play around with things like that for days (and I do!).

Have you found your personal home style?

Amy x

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 | Jeans - Topshop  | Blouse - H&M (old) | Bag - Fiorelli (old)

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Amy x

Photos: Ashton Gibbs

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

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