Welcome Back! Where I've Been & What I've Been Doing

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So, I'm back! And it's safe to say I've really missed my little corner of the internet far more than I anticipated but I thoroughly enjoyed my break. I absolutely loved taking time off and feel really rested and ready to get back into the swing of things. Even though I've still been online and updating my Instagram and Twitter regularly not sitting down and writing a post has been strange. For so long I've always had a place to put my thoughts and musings without being limited to 280 characters so forgive me if I am a little rusty at writing paragraphs right now. When I decided to take my little hiatus I was seriously burnt out and taking that step back has lit a serious fire in my belly and I'm itching to create content. So, to get back into the swing of things I thought I would share what I've been up to in the last few weeks.

I READ & GAVE MYSELF CREATIVE WHITE SPACE

On the weekend that it snowed, I think we all know what weekend I'm talking about [insert a disgruntled emoji here]. I sat on Saturday morning in the sun spot on my office sofa wrapped in a blanket with a very large cup of coffee reading and I truly don't know when I last felt that relaxed. I've still been reading this year but I never felt really relaxed when I was doing so because it was always in little gaps of time so having some time to properly get immersed into a book felt wonderful. I've mentioned it before but one of my biggest inspirations for writing is books and I've been really making a dent in my to read list so it's a win-win situation. Something else reading does for me is it gives me creative white space. Which is not something I see being spoken about a lot online but white space is mostly the place where I find myself thinking of the best ideas because my brain is pretty empty. Well as empty as an anxious mind can be. There is much pressure to constantly think of amazing ideas and a million and one posts on how to get to them but for me, I truly believe my best ideas come from not doing anything and let my brain do its own thing.

I RESTED

When I decided that I was taking a break I felt riddled with guilt. All I thought about for a good couple of days was that people would think I was an entitled brat who has a "dreamy" job so why did I need or deserve time off? Thankfully, due to the overwhelming and kind response to me posting about taking time off those feelings melted away pretty quickly and I made the most of my time off. I took a solid week away from work, only doing e-mails and comments which did take a couple of hours a day but even just doing that at my own pace felt good. But other than that, I didn't really take any pictures and did all the other things in life I enjoy like spending time with my boyfriend and our beloved dog Josie, pottering around and doing things I never had time for before and it felt incredible. I'd forgotten what it was like to navigate life without a to-do list or tight time constraints and even doing the food shop felt a thousand times more enjoyable (especially when buying my new favourite thing - Sainsbury's vanilla donuts). A big thing for me was sorting out my sleep pattern during my time off and trying to make sure I woke up feeling refreshed. I'd been averaging less than 6 hours of sleep for weeks which were a very restless 6 hours and waking up a lot with phantom OCD thoughts and it was taking its toll on me. I've adjusted my body to go back to waking up at around 6am naturally without an alarm and when I wake up I actually feel ok, I'm not pulling the duvet back over my head and I'm excited to get up instead of instantly feeling panicked as soon as I open my eyes because I'm drowning in work. I'm trying to continue this routine getting back to work and improving my time management skills because they're not the best.

I GOT BACK ON TRACK WITH EVERYTHING

One of the biggest reasons why I took a break, apart from being seriously burnt out was that I was so behind with work. I wasn't giving myself any wiggle room in my schedule and working that way isn't something I thrive on. Now I'm back on track with pretty much every aspect of my life, my inbox is under control, all the things that I'm working on are planned, my home is tidy and I feel pretty at peace right now which isn't something that I've felt in a long time. Getting back on top of work and allowing myself room to be a human and switch off in an evening is what I've wanted for such a long time. It's made me love and appreciate what I do so much more and I'm so excited to get creating once again. 

I MADE A START ON MY SPRING WARDROBE & SPRING CLEAN

I try so hard not to wish my time away but something I'm desperately craving is some warmer weather and some sunshine. So to prep for the blissful spring/summer that I hope we're going to have and I've added a few new additions to my wardrobe and I'm pretty obsessed with midi sundresses at the moment. I just can't help myself and they're a style piece that I never thought I'd enjoy so much as I was always worried that they made me look a little dumpy but they're so flattering not to mention incredibly comfortable. Some style purchases I've made and plan to buy are;

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As well as making some new additions to my spring wardrobe I've also been on a serious mission to tidy up the house and get rid of any clutter. It's something that has been on my to-do list for what feels like forever, all being well my little blog shop should be up and running soon where I'm selling everything that I'm not getting any use out of. I'm determined not to gather clutter and hoard things that I no longer use or even really like anymore as it just feels so pointless. I love personal trinkets and things that have meaning but there are definitely some things in my home that have absolutely no use that need to go. 

I FELT SETTLED AT HOME

The vast majority of people who are reading this right now probably know that last year I moved out from my dad's house to officially live with my boyfriend and it has taken me quite a while to feel settled. And it's not until I've slowed down and taken some time to really just be at home without work that I've felt myself settle into life here and I feel so at home now. When I first moved I struggled a lot with homesickness for a multitude of reasons and I do miss my dad even though I see him most days as we walk the dogs together but it's not the same as living with him. For so long it was just me and him, I'm incredibly fortunate to have such a good relationship with my family and I spend as much time with them as I possibly can. I realise this may sound like I don't love living with my boyfriend, I do and of course, we have Josie together but our relationship isn't typical in the fact he's usually out of the country. And then when he's here he's working too and he works incredibly long hours so I'm on my own a lot which is something I do enjoy up until a point and then I just feel alone and isolated.

I CHANGED MY HAIR & FELL BACK IN LOVE WITH BEAUTY PRODUCTS

Earlier in the year I cut my hair to the shortest it's been in years and I fell in love with it. I feel like 'me' again and so much more confident with it being shorter and it gives it so much volume rather than looking sad and lank because we all know the struggle that I have with my hair and not looking like an Afghan Hound. Anyway, I'm going to do an entire post on this but I finally took the plunge and added a little bit of colour to my hair which isn't something that I've done for around 5 years and it's exciting to have a change. I'm one of those people who get most of their confidence from their hair and it's something that is making me so happy. As well as changing my hair I've also fallen back in serious love with beauty. Having the time to properly get ready and try out new products is something that has made me so happy and I can't wait to get stuck back into writing about the new things that I've discovered. 

I WAS ON THE MAKE IT HAPPEN PODCAST

I'm sure you probably know by now that I really love podcasts, there is rarely a day that goes by where I don't listen to one so when one of my closest friends Jen Carrington asked me to be on her podcast I was so excited and flattered. Not only have I seen Make It Happen from day one when Jen was working on launching it but it's something that I've listened to and loved over the years. We recorded it on a Monday night and it took up the entire evening as myself and Jen when we're together we tend to talk and talk and talk. So poor Alex, Jen's husband had to wade his way through all our ramblings and Josie needing a toilet break but the final episode is something I'm so pleased with. We chatted about how I became my own boss, sponsored content, taking a break, writing personal posts and all sorts of other things. I apologise now for the amount of times I say the word like and mumble slightly, both terrible traits of mine. Doing the podcast has given me such a confidence boost which wasn't something I was expecting at all and it's made me want to do my own podcast, even more as it's something that has been in the back of my mind for a while.

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Thank you so much to everybody who took the time to send me supportive messages, tweets and comments about taking a break. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have the readers that I do and the fact you gave me this time to reset myself is something I'm grateful for. Here's to the rest of 2018 and creating awesome content hopefully without another burn out! Please do let me know how you all are and what you've been up to since I've been gone.