Christmas at home

Today I’m back in Manchester after about a week at home for Christmas.

As always it’s been a much needed rest, I actually feel like I’ve been on retreat! I spent most all of my time eating, snoozing, watching films and reading books, and also exercising – we managed a three mile walk on Christmas day, an almost-six-mile walk on Boxing day, and the day after that my dad and I went for a nine mile run (!).

I always use Christmas as a chance to switch off and take stock, deciding which direction I want to steer myself in next year. This time I’ve decided I want less stress and more fun.

I want to focus on doing a good job at work and to keep learning new, relevant skills. I want to keep this blog ticking along nicely without putting any pressure on myself for it be to ‘established’ or ‘professional’. It’s mine so I can do what I want.

I want more time for leisure next year. I want to do a bit of travelling and really explore every last nook and cranny in Manchester. I also want to get my second book published, but you know what? If it’s late, it’s late!

Mum’s coconut and limoncello cake

This morning I baked shortbread and cooked a vegetarian bolognese, now I’m lounging around watching rubbish films and idly writing bits and pieces on my laptop. I feel very relaxed. This is what I don’t make enough time for – time where I can be idle, even lazy!

If I’m going to significantly reduce stress in my life it means I’m going to have to stop caring about a lot of things. I need to declutter my mental space. I did this after leaving Sheffield, and possibly took it a little bit too far (always one extreme to the other me!), but bloody hell it worked.

Less stress, more fun, and giving less of a f*** in 2017!

Focus on you

When I lived in Melbourne and in the two years after that, I really learnt how to focus on myself.

What happened as result, was that I started finding I could make time for the things I truly wanted. I started forming new habits and making different lifestyle choices. The people I was surrounded by changed too – I started meeting the kind of people I’d always wanted to meet. I lost my FOMO (fear of missing out) and replaced it JOMO (joy of missing out – real term!).

It’s carrying on here in Manchester. I am surrounded by good people. People who also focus on themselves.

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It makes me giggle when folk say social media makes people fake, I find the it’s the opposite. I can remember when I first found Lima’s Twitter page, I think it was just before or just after I moved here. I immediately knew I wanted to meet her – my first digital impression was that she was proactive, creative and enthusiastic about the things she cared about. She also has opinions – and I think that’s a sign of a person who thinks about things bigger than them. I really like people like that.

I had the same gut feeling the first time I digitally met Daisy, Sophie and many other good people. I even had the same gut feeling when I first viewed the flat I now live in! My housemate wasn’t actually here when I came to look around, so her friend let me in instead. Even though I hadn’t yet met her, straight away I knew I wanted to live in this flat. It’s the flat of someone who knows they want and is focussed on themselves.

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All the good in my life has come from focussing on me. I’ve been able to become fitter, healthier, more confident and less anxious about what the future might bring.

Le Pain Quotidien, Leeds

Last weekend I went to Leeds to catch up with some Yorkshire bloggers.

We’ve been having these meet ups for a couple of years now, it’s nice to get together and just chat with no pressure to blog (although I did take my camera, hence this blog post).

It was organised by Fran and there were new and old faces alike there. It was a great afternoon chatting with some lovely people!

We met at Le Pain Quotidien inside the new Victoria Gate centre in Leeds. I was very impressed with the design of the place, it’s gorgeous! Inspiring without being pretentious or too fancy – in my opinion. As for the restaurant, it well very blog-worthy. Light, pretty, lots of attention to detail and great food. Cue photo essay:

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Sarah’s beloved Pentax above there. It was great to catch up with Sarah, we haven’t actually seen each other since August!
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Some Things I Learnt Recently Pt 4

It’s a been a while since I last published one of these hasn’t it?

Follow the links to read part one, part two and part three, welcome to part four!

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No matter where you are or how good you are, there will always be someone who doesn’t like you. It isn’t the end of world and it actually hardly matters at all in the grand scheme of things.

To get what you want, you have to fight your corner. And I mean fight. If you don’t speak up for yourself you’ll be pushed back by someone else speaking up for themselves.

Novelty always wears off no matter how far you go. I’ve been to London so many times these past few weeks that nothing about it feels grand or intimidating anymore. It still feels exciting – and so does Manchester, but not intimidating. The ‘new’ novelty has gone.

There are more than two sides to every story. Since working for a PR agency I’ve been starting to understand how important choosing your words is. I recently saw two newspapers report on the exact same thing in completely opposite ways. The key lesson here I think is if you’re not hearing something straight – and I mean straight – from the horse’s mouth don’t let yourself believe it 100%.

Attitude is everything. My attitude decides my day, it’s as simple as that.

Idler magazine

When I was at HOME last week I had a look round the bookshop just outside the gallery. I can never really resist a good bookshop. I spotted Idler magazine out of the corner of my eye, picked it up and within seconds had decided to buy it.

Funnily enough I was with Dan on that day who now works for Doncopolitan – the same magazine I used to work for. He pointed out that Idler is one of the publications Doncopolitan co-creator Warren has written for in the past – weird eh?

I wanted to show you some pictures of the magazine, I’ve really enjoyed reading it this past week.

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I love the size of it – like a book rather than a newspaper or magazine. There was a lovely piece in there by a woman called Emily Young, who is a sculptor and lives in Tuscany – idyllic!

I also really enjoyed Adam Smart’s piece, ‘System Failure’, which argued that psychological disorders (such as PTSD, anxiety) that don’t ‘fit’ with capitalism usually get given drugs to medicate, whereas psychological disorders that do fit (such as psychoticism or narcissism) get rewarded by capitalism. I can kind of see his point to be honest!

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