To Those I Have Loved, and Lost

Lifestyle

For a little while now I have wanted to write this post, I just had no idea where to start.

With my parents moving and leaving our hometown behind, it feels as though this is the right time to do it.

The past 2 years of my life have been a whirlwind. I left school earlier than I should have, I moved away from home and I started my career, all whilst battling a mental illness. These things are everything I have ever wanted to do. I remember being a little girl and pretending my bedroom was my own studio flat, and going to school wishing I was doing my dream job; I was so elated when I finally had the real thing. But because everything happened so quickly, I never really gave myself chance to realise what I had left behind.

Over the 18 years I lived in Kenilworth, I met people who will stay in my heart forever – no matter how little we talk or how far apart we are. I had the most wonderful friends growing up. People that shaped my life and made me the person I am today. The memories I have made playing on the street with my neighbours, pretending to be sick with my best friend so we could stay home together, going on holidays – those memories I will keep forever.

Unfortunately I lost a lot of those friends because of my own personal anguish, arrogance and absent-mindedness.

I’ve never been one to text, I’m still not now to my boyfriend and mother’s despair. But when I left school, I neglected a lot of my friends by rejecting their calls and ignoring their texts… (if I have ever ignored your text, I can honestly say this is nothing personal, I am just a huge pain in the ass). I’ll read a message, intend on responding, think of a message back then get distracted. Sometimes I will get distracted for an hour, sometimes a month. It’s one of my worst qualities and I can’t even begin to justify it. I’m not going to preach that it’s because I have been busy or I want to spend less time on my phone – it takes 2 seconds to send a quick message to someone and I know I could have tried harder.

I also never want to blame my mental health for the way I treat other people. I have been pretty shit to the people who have been so wonderful to me and now I am coping with my illness better, I realise that. Again, I can’t justify not seeing my friends for months on end and avoiding any contact with them solely on depression. But it did play a big part.

During both the peak of what I was going through and the recovery process, I spent a lot of time alone. I felt most content with my own thoughts. I even neglected my parents by spending every waking hour in my room rewatching the same TV show, sleeping in until ungodly hours and eating in isolation. By being on my own, I didn’t have to put up a front and I could be completely myself. When on my way to feeling better, I tried my best to rebuild the relationship with my family that I lost when I was so distant. When I did manage to get out of the house, I just wanted to be with them. They knew me best at that time and I felt safe in their company knowing they would be there if I broke down. As awful as it sounds, I had some of my best times on my route to recovery, being with my parents doing my favourite things; they just wanted to make me happy so we would go to new places and have a lot of afternoon tea.

Once I finally got to a place where I was ready to face the world and the people who once knew me, I felt (through only my own fault) like a burden. Everyone was doing just fine without me, they didn’t need my fluctuating moods and unreliability ruining what was one of the best years of their lives. I was also a significantly different person at this time in comparison to how I was beforehand. I had learnt a lot about myself and I felt like the first months of taking my medication stripped back a lot of my personality. I wanted my friends to remember me as the girl I used to be – fun, bubbly and alive – not sad and dead behind the eyes. It felt best to move on. If I knew what I know now, I would most definitely have made a different decision.

I’m sorry it took so long to give an explanation. And I am sorry I couldn’t do it directly. I am most sorry that I lost you in the first place.

I miss my friends with all my heart. And I would do anything for things to go back to the way they were. Right now, I think it is important we all grow at our own speeds, in our own directions. I hope that one day we will come together again and rekindle the friendships I used to love so dearly. Until then, I will laugh and cry about, love, and cherish the moments we had.

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

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A London Staycation

World

A year ago today I moved to London. And the best way to celebrate feeling like I truly belong here is by going back to the very beginning – being those all important, slow walking, picture-taking tourists on their holidays, enjoying this wonderful city.

This weekend Jack and I took it upon ourselves to do a variety of ‘touristy’ activities. It was probably the most productive weekend we’ve had to date and most definitely the earliest we’ve got up together on a Sunday morning.

We started Saturday by getting up at 9AM (unheard of) and going to our local cafe, Bread by Bike. It’s a super cute bakery around the corner from my flat that prides itself on its sourdough bread – it’s a real hidden treasure and I would definitely recommend going if you’re ever in North London. We got take out, took it home and sat in bed watching Friends.

 

 

Jack napped whilst I put my glam on and we headed to Notting Hill. When we first got together, Jack was desperate for me to watch the film Notting Hill; I had never seen it and never intended to because of my hostility towards rom-coms. Of course, I eventually gave in and I can now begrudgingly say I quite like it. We walked the length of Portobello Road Market, got milkshake and found pretty coloured houses to take pictures with.

 

Next, we got the tube to Westminster and walked along the bridge to the Southbank. Our next choice of tourist attraction was either the London Eye or the London Dungeons. Because I knew how happy it would make my mother – she’s wanted me to go for the past year – we went to the dungeons. I was slightly terrified of people jumping out and any talk about blood or gore is abhorrent to me, but nevertheless, I had a wonderful time. It was also super interesting to learn about London before artsy vegan restaurants, boozy mini golf and pretentious cafe’s.

Our next stop was Wagamamas before we decided we had spent far too much time out of  bed. I introduced Jack to the wonder of yasai kastu curry, then we went back to Camden in time to have a Saturday night in, complete with snacks and a film.

 

Sunday was a bright and early start as well. We woke up, got ready and went straight to Camden market. I usually do my best to avoid Camden on a weekend because of how busy it gets, but it was only right to do the tourist thing and have a browse. There is a ridiculous amount of food choice round there and I had to make the decision as to where we went for breakfast. We found a cute little Mexican cafe and settled there. Jack had breakfast tacos and I had a blueberry cinnamon loaf. After food, we were raring to go for day 2 of our tourist staycation. Jack wanted some posters so we searched the maze that is the market for some cute vintage movie posters.

 

Next, we went to Brick Lane market. We had a look at the vintage stalls, strolled the street and Jack played chess with the man who ‘plays chess for fun for free’ every Sunday. Next, we went to Old Spitalfields market. All the browsing was absolutely exhausting so we did the true British thing and stopped for tea. After we gained a bit of energy, we grabbed a doughnut – obviously a photogenic one for the pics – and I made Jack take a million photos of me. Honestly, that man is a saint. If he doesn’t complain when taking outfit pictures, he’s a keeper.

We stopped at our third and final market of the day – Petticoat Lane Market. To Jack this probably seemed like a horrifying, typical dirty London street selling fake Gucci and what claims to be vintage (really just dirty and used) clothing. But to me, it’s an absolute wonderland. If you look hard enough, there are some real bargains, including brand new things from Mango and Topshop. I spotted a dress for £10 that is still full price at £42 in Topshop. I would definitely recommend going there every now and again to see what they have. Whether you are a tourist or not, if you can get past the slightly scary Londoners and dingy streets, it’s a really great shopping destination when you are on a budget.

 

To bring the weekend to a close, we went back to my flat and began watching Harry Potter; our plan was to watch all 7 this week then go to the Warner Bros studio. Jack however, fell asleep whilst I edited the hundreds of pictures I got (I will be posting them for the foreseeable ever). He woke up with a new lease of life and we decided the weekend was not quite finished after all. We got ready and went to Pizza Union at King’s Cross. We then got the tube over to Tower Hill to take a Jack the Ripper tour around Whitechapel. It was so much fun and super interesting whilst being a slightly morbid way to spend your Sunday night. It made us feel like real life tourists, following a man around with an umbrella in the air with a bunch of people from around the world.

I have had the most incredible weekend. It’s so easy to get caught up in work and general daily life that you forget where you are. I’m lucky enough to live in one of the most amazing cities in the world. If you are too, I would highly recommend taking a day off from the ‘rat race’ lifestyle and really try to appreciate your surroundings.

I just want to say a big thank you to Jack for making me the best possible version of myself. You make me laugh, cry, smile and love like never before. This time one year ago, I could never have imagined myself being as happy as I am now.

 

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

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Feeling Uninspired

Lifestyle

Pinterest. I swear that app solves 98% of problems in my life. I go on it for everything. Sad and fancy a cheering up treat? Here’s a recipe for 2 ingredient unicorn fudge. Not sure what to do with your hair? Try this faux hawk tutorial. (Legit things and if you’re interested I have linked them).

But jokes aside, where do you go when you’re feeling uninspired? Without realising, I have felt like it for a good few months now. It was only until I went to write when I realised. I had no perspective… Nothing to say whatsoever.

My first thought was why? I usually have so many ideas flying around my head I don’t know where to start. My friend once challenged me to have a conversation with him without stating my opinion; we ended up sitting in silence for 10 minutes. So how had I suddenly come to a place where I didn’t have an opinion on anything?

In my case, I concluded I was feeling uninspired because for a little while now, I have been in a job that hasn’t challenged me enough. Of course it’s nice to feel comfortable in your work, but I had got too comfortable. I ended up making my bed and very much snuggling down and sleeping in it, presumably for the long haul.

Ordinarily, I don’t think you must have a reason for feeling uninspired, it can just happen. The most important thing is fixing the problem.

I’m not a complete novice to rediscovering my flare and creativity, but I can definitely say that I am yet to master the art. After spending a lot of time in my own head, I have put together a list of things that I think personally, help me to get back on that ‘rise and grind’ mindset.

 

Health

Since living in London, I have found it super hard to keep on top of everything. Actually, I lie when I say it’s since I moved to the city; I have been struggling to get myself together since ’99. But something I have let slip significantly is my health and well-being. At home, I would go to the gym at least 4 times a week, eat nutritious food that would leave me feeling energised and practice an actual skin care routine. Nowadays, I am lucky if I can be bothered to make something other than a cheese sandwich for dinner, the very thought of the gym makes me queasy and my skin is a hot mess.

To feel more in control of my overall happiness and therefore feel inspired in life, I know I need to take care of myself – inside and out. Lately, I have been trying my best to do a face and hair mask once a week, to cleans my body of toxicities, including negative thoughts. Exercise and getting the vitamins you need is also important to give you the capacity for a much clearer head-space so you can let new ideas flourish.

 

Reading

Because of how lazy I have gotten, I tend to find the easy route in everything. I’ll re-watch the same television show instead of reading a new book, or I’ll online shop instead of attempting to write a new blog post.

This is where my love of Pinterest comes in. After spending just 20 minutes reading through random articles that sparked my interest, I felt so much more open to new ideas. That website is literally a portal to the unknown, you can search for a smokey eye look and end up finding the best dress shape for your star sign. No matter how random, it’s good to let your mind wander, instead of scrolling through the same people’s Instagram pages day in day out.

Online shopping – I’m a fine one to talk with this one. I get most of my inspiration from online shops. I can actually confess that as soon as I wake up in the morning, I look on Topshop and ASOS new in. It’s a problem and I need help. As good a tool it is for fashion inspo, it’s incredibly hurtful to the bank account. Instead, I have started to read more fashion blogs. I find this gives me ideas and also benefits my own writing skills. After all, us bloggers need to help each other.

 

Indulge

It doesn’t hurt to indulge in your favourite things every now and again. My favourite thing to do is wander round London streets and go for afternoon tea. As much as I would love to spend the rest of my days doing just that, I know that I would eventually begin to resent it, just how I did with work. To begin with, I absolutely adored my job. I was learning new things and every day was more exciting than the next. As time went on, I became less and less productive because everything was familiar to me; I was so comfortable that I had no desire to do more. It’s good to keep yourself on your toes and indulge in the good stuff in order to reiterate your passion for the things you enjoy.

 

I’m not sure how informative this post has been. It’s easy enough to read about getting inspired but it’s a completely different story putting it into practice. But as my therapist once said, if you know the route of the issue, it’s easier to fix. Thanks for that hun – unfortunately I never found the deep, complex route of my inexorable sadness but as long as I have the inspiration to put a cute outfit together, all is well in the world.

 

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

AW18 Aesthetic

Style

I think it’s fair to say Summer is officially over. No matter how hard I try to pull off wearing a mini dress and sandals, it’s impossible to miss the preposterous looks I get from jumper clad, coffee drinking commuters meandering their way through Kings Cross at 8 in the morning. You know what us Brits are like – we expect the worst – as soon as there is a slight possibility of rain, we abort mission and hibernate inside or bring out all the layers we have, then complain when it turns 12 o clock and we’re a little too hot. Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that August signified the end of my 19th summer.

My school years have sort of ingrained in me that September is the real start of a new year – more so than January. It’s always been a time where I have to prepare myself for a fresh start and get organised for the months ahead. Because I am so set in my ways, this also means my wardrobe gets a refresh in September.

There is only one thing better than bringing out your old knits and jackets, some of which you forgot you even had, and that’s buying new knits and jackets. I like to think the start of a new season gives you the opportunity to completely redesign your wardrobe.

This A/W I am determined to make the cold weather my b*tch and not let it make me miserable for another year running. It’s inevitable that I will end up wearing the same piece all through winter like I do every other season. Last winter, it was my beloved grey jumper. I have no idea how or why it became my go-to but it became my comfort blanket and was thus seen as my ‘sad day’ jumper (at the time this meant my every day jumper…) Whenever I wore it, people would immediately ask if I was feeling okay and knew to leave me to my own devices; a good tool for when you are not so talkative may I add. This summer it has been my staple floral dress. It’s cute enough to make it look as if I have made an effort but I also don’t have to wear a bra and can stick converse on to claim it’s ‘tomboy chic’.

Moving on, I have created a little mood board as to what I want my AW18 aesthetic to be. It’s very easy to get caught up in all the trends in the shops and therefore lose perspective of what look you actually want to go for. So this is the kinda vibe I’m after…

 

 

As much as I am loving the animal print trend, I know full well that in 6 months time I will be outraged that I bought a pair of leopard print knee-length boots. Instead, I have decided I want to style the trend in a little more subtle way. I would wear a pair of statement jeans (my faves linked here and here) with a plain knit and layered gold necklaces.

Living in London comes with its difficulties. The main one being budgeting. Being a self-confessed shopaholic, I find it super hard to prioritize nutritional dinners over a cute dress. Because of my financial struggles and weekly reminders from my mother to stop buying clothes, I am trying to make use of what I have got. I have countless summer midi/maxi dresses that I just can’t bear to hide away until next year, so instead, I will style them over the colder months with oversized granddad cardigans (see here) and chunky trainers. Because long floral skirts, charity shop style cardigans and dad trainers are a look… I swear…

Another super popular A/W trend is silk skirts. There aren’t too many in the shops at the moment but I give it a month and you won’t be able to miss them. I would style a delicate silk skirt with a chunky knit for an unusual blend of textures and Gucci style loafers.

Lastly, a style that I don’t think is particularly ‘in’ right now, but I am going to work with anyway is floral dresses and cowgirl boots. It doesn’t sound overly appealing but it is a combination I have wanted to work with for a while; the summer to autumn transitioning period is the perfect time. To assure you I’m not crazy, this is the kind of thing I have in mind – dress and boots.

A couple more things I am loving and very actively looking for are leather pieces, pyjama style shirts, faux fur bags and chunky gold earrings. Here are some of my favourites so far:

 

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

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193 Days Later

Lifestyle

I’m back! With a tale or two to tell, a lot of complaints to make and some more over sharing to do.

My last post was 193 days ago, when in Rome, which feels like an absolute lifetime ago. In that time I have been to Belgium and Mexico. A good couple of destinations for a financially horrifying year (London is draining me in more ways than one). Both trips were with my family. With us all being on different schedules, it was nice to spend some quality time with them. Belgium was beautiful. Mexico on the other hand was crazy. I think it may be my favourite holiday to date. We met the most amazing people and I can’t remember a second where I wasn’t laughing or without a cocktail.

London is still where I am currently calling home. About 6 months ago, I moved flat again, which yes, totals it to 3 different flats in one year – an achievement if you ask me. I now live in the most wonderful little studio flat in Camden. It’s expensive and comparable to a cardboard box but its all mine and I absolutely love it. A lot of people are a little bewildered by the fact that I choose to live on my own. But the hermit in me is happiest alone, surrounded by my own mess, with the kettle only an arm’s length away.

The one thing I was struggling with when I last wrote was loneliness. I knew it was going to take a little while to settle in but I was not at all prepared for how lonely it was going to be. You would think that being surrounded by so many people in such a huge city, feeling lonely couldn’t or shouldn’t be an option. It turns out, the more people there are, the more alone you feel. I also didn’t expect it to be so hard to make friends. Without beating around the bush, everyone in the real world is miserable and nobody cares for meeting new people. So be prepared kids, when you leave school/college/uni you’re on ya own…

However, within the past few months my boss blessed me with the most wonderful new runners at Kudos. I’m so unbelievably grateful to have two gorgeous gals to bug with my problems, share insatiable shopping habits and drink too much wine on a weekday with.

… Moving on from the amazing friends I have made, I have now indeed found myself the most wonderful man I could have ever imagined. After many a hopeless dates and lonely nights, I met Jack. He is my real life brown-haired, blue-eyed, 6 foot dream. If you’re reading this, you’re lame and I love you a lot x

In terms of TV, not that much has happened. I am still enjoying working for the incredible Kudos Film and TV, being part of the production of  recent shows such as Humans and Code 404. After being there for almost a year, my contract is due to end in November, so I now have to make the decision as to whether I want to stay in London or try to pursue a career in television whilst simultaneously living at home. As much as I love living in the city, it is hard work and I do feel like I need a break from the hustle. My parents are currently in the process of moving away from my hometown to the seaside, something I have dreamt of doing since I was a little girl, so that could be a pretty nice extended holiday for me whilst I’m deciding what on earth to do with myself.

So that sums up my past 193 days offline.

I have a lot to think about over the next couple of months which will inevitably lead to a very stressed Abs. But even so, I am super excited for what is to come and I can’t wait to share it with whoever may or may not be interested.

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

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