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