Monday, 9 October 2017

Balance



Time often seems something hard to come by.

You need time for everything, and yet it always seems to be running away from you.

But as you cannot create extra hours, you can manage how you use them. And that requires some good balancing skills.

Honestly, I think we all struggle to find a good balance between work, play, exercise, rest, socialising, and everything else. We all know of the triangle that states 'pick two' when it comes to working, socialising and sleeping. And often it really does feel like that. Like you undoubtedly must sacrifice something in order to succeed in other areas. But that really shouldn't be how it is. I think we're often too set on achieving our goals really quickly and therefore believe we should focus all of our energy on one or two things, instead of taking a little longer to get there and caring about our overall wellbeing.

Balance is the most important thing.

Sure, you want to move on up in your line of work. Sure, you want to achieve your fitness goals. Sure, you want to network and make time for all your different friends. But ultimately, are these goals, and your desire to achieve them as soon as possible, becoming detrimental to your fundamental welfare? Sometimes you really need to take a step back and ask yourself that question.

It might be your health that's suffering, your brain from overwork, your whole body from lack of rest. Maybe your personal relationships are suffering, or your work from trying too hard to do too much.

But I think we can still have everything.

There seems no need to substitute certain areas of our lives in order to achieve more in one area. It's time to reevaluate, to look across the board and realise: all these different areas are important and none of them should be neglected to benefit another.

Balance may not seem easy, it may be frustrating or seem as though it's holding you back. But it is the best thing for you. It's important to make time for everything. Even if the first step is just a 15 minute phone catch up with one of your best friends, or a half an hour walk around your local area. Balance is actually far more about the little things, the small, perhaps seemingly insignificant things, that ultimately restore order and equilibrium to your life.

You can bring balance into your life in a lot of different ways. Personally, I think time management is the way forward. I like to write out a to-do list everyday, stating what I plan to get done, and working in most, if not all, the different areas of my life. It might literally say, 'work 9.30-6; text xyz to see how they are; walk to the bus stop further away to catch the bus home; get an early night'. It's honestly that simple, and it makes it really easy to start off with those easy, seemingly insignificant steps. But they add a balance to you life. You get to work, sleep, socialise, and exercise. A bit of everything and it's really not as hard as it may seem.

So take a little time out to reevaluate and restore balance to your day-to-day happenings.

You won't regret it.


Until next time.


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Monday, 2 October 2017

Treat Yourself



Honestly, I think it's very easy to forget to treat yourself.

In May I bought my first car and pretty much ever since I've been saving and refusing to indulge every now and again. And that's been fine, but there comes a point where you realise that saving isn't the be all and end all. Having a safety blanket in your finances is undeniably invaluable; there will be a time that you need it and are eternally grateful that you put some money aside. But that doesn't mean you should save everything. It's important to make the most of life and do what you want with it. It's important that you're not a slave to yourself. Indulge. Splurge. Treat yourself every now and again.

My treatless life ended very abruptly last week, when I saw the Selfridges Beauty Advent Calendar and thought: why the hell not. Undoubtedly, it was a pretty big thing to splurge on, but I know I'm going to have the most exciting December because of it. That's the kind of treat you need occasionally, and especially after ignoring your shopping impulses for a long five months. I also gave in and bought a purse I've had my eye on for about three months. When you find something that you've been looking for forever and you know you'll get a lifetime of use out of, you have to treat yourself.

Generally, I think my treats will be a lot smaller. But I'm planning on doing/buying at least one little thing a month to treat myself. For instance, I love having fresh flowers around, so I'm going to treat myself to a bunch more than once a year. If something I love and use all the time is getting old and tatty, I'll replace it without thinking too much about the cost.

It's easy to forget to live and enjoy what you have and what you can afford in the present day. My conscience is constantly thinking about the future and how I'll never be able to afford to buy a house, so I try to save extra now to make up for it. But it's the wrong mentality. We shouldn't scare ourselves into saving too radically. It's important to live a little more liberally and to make the most of things before we die with money in the bank but without having lived a joyful, indulgent, exciting life.

Plan a holiday, go to the pub with your friends tonight, buy that cute jumper you tried on over the weekend and fell in love with.

You deserve it.


Until next time.


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Saturday, 30 September 2017

September Books



This month I read a bunch of very different books, ranging from Victorian sci-fi to 90s genocide and the breakup of Yugoslavia. All very interesting texts, so here are my thoughts on them.


Girl at War - Sara Novic

Honestly, I loved the book but hated the main character. There's something really unlikeable about Ana as a person. Obviously, she had a very traumatic childhood, as the book follows the breakdown of Yugoslavia and the effective violence and conflict. However, she seems to position herself above others in the novel, and acts like she's still a young teenager when she's in her twenties. I always find it difficult reading an interesting and thought provoking book when you're seeing everything through the eyes of this kind of character. I felt like I was missing out of some of the more important things, some of the history and such, because of Ana's character. But, other than the protagonist, I thought the book was very effective, well written, and an accessible insight into these historical events.


Generation X - Douglas Coupland

Generation X is a bit of a strange book. It's basically a novel without a plot, which, I can appreciate, but it just sort of circles around a few, relatively uninteresting things. It does, as the title would suggest, give you a good understanding of a generation that came before mine, so I can empathise with the central characters: a group who don't own property, aren't working in jobs they care about, see no real future so imagine various scenarios and live life through their own short stories. I really liked the content of the book and the endeavours of the central characters, I think I just found the structure, as effectively a series of short stories about a trio, a little hard to read as a novel. Nonetheless, if you're okay with something slightly incoherent style wise, then I'd definitely give it a go.


War of the Worlds - H. G. Wells

I can't say this was the most enjoyable read, but I certainty appreciate the prestige of the book. Being one of the first ever texts to imagine the extraterrestrial, it's certainly a must-read for anyone with a love for literature. It is a very interesting novel, especially considering the Victorian nature of the text, however, I didn't like it as much as a lot of the other texts I've read from the era. There was a slight discomfort in the style for me, I'm not sure if that was because Wells was describing something new and groundbreaking or quite what it was, but I didn't find it read all that well. I didn't really like the digression back and forth and around his brother; if it's a first person text, I do tend to prefer the primary voice to be the one we see things through rather than at such a remove. However, of course the imaginative and innovative descriptions are highly engaging and certainly more enjoyable than the style. I'd say read it, but don't expect to love it.


Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison

This was by far my favourite book I read this month. It is so well written and discusses important issues and ideology. The narrator was a very interesting character and showed the struggles of his race in a seemingly authentic manner, offering the ups and downs. I found the discussion of race within the African American community particularly interesting, with the differing views and the struggle to find a voice and to find a way to move forward after such discrimination. The unpicking of the relationship between identity and Marxism was particularly thought-provoking, and it certainly read as a text to be deciphered and properly unravelled rather than simply scanned over. A very important text and one that should definitely find itself upon your bookshelf.


Until next time.


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Monday, 25 September 2017

Being tall isn't always so great


There'a a good reason why autumn/winter are my preferred seasons. Because I can wear the slouchy, baggy clothes that will fit me right and not seem out of place.


It seems to be a natural human tendency to want that which you don't have.

In some ways, this is how I feel: I'd like to be shorter because I'm not. But equally, I love being tall. It's a never-endingly reevaluated pro/con list. Being tall is great; I can find my friends in a crowd, I can get stuff off the highest shelves, I look a bit slimmer on the whole because my body weight is spread out further, my walk is a strut because my legs are on the longer side.

But there's one, single thing, that makes me absolutely detest my height. And that's clothes. And unfortunately, they are necessary.

I wish I could explain how upsetting clothes shopping is for me.

Honestly, I love clothes. I enjoy shopping - though, albeit, primarily online - and I like seeing the new-in fashion for each season. But when the clothes actually show up, I get so disheartened.

Basically, barely anything fits me right. I'm 5'11'', so notably above average height, and when I'm trying on clothes, I always wish I was half a foot shorter. It's so difficult to find jeans that I can actually wear. I've got a smaller waist, but a very long torso, so even high-waisted jeans often fail to sit right - and then, my legs are long but not super long, so trousers are either a bit too short or too long if I get the longer length ones. I put off buying trousers pretty much altogether unless it's completely necessary because I get so upset that they never fit. My hips will always sit where my waist is meant to be and it makes me feel huge and just terrible about myself.

When I find a top of a reasonable length, more often than not I'll try it on in my size and my shoulders just won't fit properly. Or the 'long' sleeves will finish three inches before my wrists. This actually happens with 'tall size' tops quite a lot too - as though yes, the length has been considered, but literally nothing else has. So I end up wearing oversized baggy tops and jumpers all the time and then feeling like I look frumpy, but nothing else fits right so what's a girl to do but wallow.

And the never-ending swimsuit struggle. I used to swim all the time when I was younger, but after I surpassed the age of about fourteen, I couldn't find a swimsuit that was long enough for my body. So subsequently, I haven't been swimming. I actually found one that fit my body perfectly on ASOS a few months back, but of course there was another fatal flaw, after I'd gotten so excited that it was long enough. The material around the boobs was ridiculously baggy, so if I'd wanted to swim then they'd have just come straight out of it.

The fact that my struggle with clothes actually stops me from doing things genuinely breaks my heart. I'm sure being tall seems a silly thing to complain about unless you actual are tall. It's a major bummer and I'm trying to get over it, but it does really suck.

On the upside, there are quite a few brands that have pretty okay tall sections. ASOS is particularly impressive, even if the pieces aren't always entirely thought through the fit the taller frame. I appreciate that brands are trying and I am eternally grateful that there are some clothes that make me feel okay in my own body.

Here's to more of that.


Until next time.


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Monday, 18 September 2017

Currently Coveting: ASOS

I don't tend to talk about fashion on here, basically because I don't know much and wouldn't want to pretend I did. However, I like clothes. And shoes. So, I thought I'd compile a post about the pieces currently situated in my saved items on ASOS. Some of them have been there for months, after me re-adding them again and again, but I just can't bring myself to purchase just yet (desperately waiting for 20% off to happen) and others are very recent additions. Either way, I thought I'd give you a glance into my shopping basket and my ever-evolving style.







I thought I'd start with coats and jackets, as they are ideal for the unpredictable Autumn weather. This khaki coat would look perfect with any outfit underneath, and can be easily dressed down or up for a smarter occasion. I love this Stone coloured cord jacket - it's very Gilmore Girls/90s. Just a really nice casual, neutral jacket, but with the added layer of warmth from the borg. This last one is a little more out there and more on the Spring/Summer side, but it's soooo cute. It would bring a really lovely pop of colour to a more neutral outfit, as well as being a nice light layer for the warmer days.






You may know that I'm a self-confessed jumper fiend. If so, you'll be surprised to find only two jumpers in my saved items (probably only because there aren't many jumpers online yet, so I'm sure that number will grow). Both of these are actually from Missguided at ASOS, which isn't a brand I normally go for, but I think both of these are so cute. The pastel jumper reminds me of one Unif had a couple years ago, but for a fraction of the price. It's really pretty and brings some lighter colours to the dulling seasons. And this other one is so cool?? I saw Rosie from Rosie the Londoner wearing one of these in a blog post recently and just thought it looked so chic and very end-of-summer/Autumn appropriate. And navy's always a winner.



The only T-Shirt in my saved items right now is this one. I think the embroidery on this is absolutely gorgeous. Such a simple top but made really special with that little added detail. And feminism is a way of life that should be expressed.





I'm coveting some very contrasting shoes at the moment. The first, aren't very A/W at all, but they are beautiful !!!! I fell in love the first time I saw them. If I do get them, I'm sure they won't get much wear until Spring time, but they're kind of too cute not to. Secondly, I've got some smarter Dr Martens. I've been after these for ages to be honest. I wear my boots all the time, so I'm very tempted to add these to my shoes for a little more versatility (also saw my friend Chloe wearing them a couple weeks ago and thought they looked even cooler in real life).





Last up are a couple accessories. The first is a super cute pink scarf, which looks irresistibly soft. I like how it just has a little fraying at the ends rather than a mass of tassels, keeping you void from tangles. And it's a really nice shade of pink, one that you don't see all that often. Finally, this purse. When I first saw it I couldn't believe my eyes. I have been hunting for a purse for about three years now, making do with a basic New Look one that I've never really liked. And it seems I've found the ONE. First of all: what a cute colour? And secondly, it opens exactly how I like; basically like a book, and it has all of the card space. Heartbreakingly, it is currently out of stock, so I'm desperately hoping that it'll come back soon.



Until next time.


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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 11 September 2017

The importance of girl friends



I have some of the most wonderful girl friends in the whole world. And that's really bloody important to me.

Albert Einstein once said, 'However rare true love may be, it is less so than true friendship.'

One of the most intelligent men in history could never have been more right than with this statement. True friendship, is the most beautiful thing in the world, and especially between girl friends. A true girl friend, will hold your hand when you need it, will laugh at your mistakes when you need them to, will support your decisions when you need them to, will drive any distance when you need them to. And what's more, they will know. They will know when you are in need. They may be far away, but even then, they will be there and they will know.


Another wise, though this time literary, genius, Shakespeare, said, 'Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find.'

And with a faithful friend, comes all the words you need to hear; sometimes all those words are said with nothing but a hug. More often than not, when you're sad, you are not looking for someone to speak the words you need to hear, because actions are always far more audible than spoken words. Your true girl friends will make time, no matter how busy their schedules, to give you the all important hug you need, the one that no one else can provide.


Jane Austen said, 'There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.'

I feel this so strongly. There are not many people who you would do anything for, but think about it for a second. There are a couple of girl friends who you'd drop everything for, aren't there? Stop, drop, and send them a message reminding them how important they are to you. You might be miles away, you might be countries apart, but you would still do anything for them. There are some people you could never love by a half: your girl friends are probably on that list.


A. A. Milne, wrote in Winnie the Pooh: 'How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.'

Your girl friends are the friends you always want to hug for that second longer when you're saying goodbye. They are the ones who hold you up when you're feeling down. They are the ones who you laugh next to in delight. They are the ones who you cuddle up to after a time apart. They are the ones who support you, no matter how difficult you might be making it for them to do so. They are the ones who you want to talk to for hours, about nothing at all. They are the ones who you will walk through life with.


They are the ones who you should never let go.


Until next time.


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Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 4 September 2017

September


It's September, and for the past three years, that's meant starting back at uni. For the past sixteen years, that's meant starting back at some sort of academic institution. But not this September.

Honestly, it's very unsettling. I feel like this time of year I'm normally reading through my course books, getting excited about my new modules, and am usually just ready to get back in the swing of things. And I do still feel like that.

I think it's partially because I'm still working my regular job and nothing feels all that different yet. I feel quite stagnant. As though, no, I'm not moving up through uni, I'm not learning, I'm not progressing. And I know that in life you're always moving forward, but not going back to uni has made me feel really uncomfortable, like I need some sort of movement, some sort of new engagement.

It's natural, I suppose. I think more than anything, it's the lack of regularity of it all. Things are different this September and I just don't know how to feel about it yet. Of course, I always knew I would come to this point in life eventually, but I don't think you can really prepare yourself for the 'what now' nature of it.

I've considered doing a Masters, I've considered all kinds of continuation with education. Ultimately, that's not what I want right now. I am, well and truly, done with formal education. Now I just need to work out what I do want to do, what new goals I'll set myself, work out where I want to be this time next year. It's one of those things that takes time, and I need to allow myself the time to consider my options and to think about my aims for the future.

September, as much as January, is a time for new beginnings, new plans, new lifestyles.

And I'm ready to embrace that.

Until next time.


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