Outside my window the world is wrapped in a blanket of snow. Doors are shut firmly against the cold whilst snowflakes swirl and flutter, falling and settling, carpeting the street, the rooftops and cars.
Winter is here, and she is in full force.
November crept in silently, bringing with it the cold chill of imminent Winter.
It has been 13 days now since I last sat down to write a blog post. After the frantic month of October I have been enjoying some much needed downtime and relief from all of the writing, photographing and editing. But today I felt compelled to finally sit down and share some thoughts; November is a big month for me and it deserves documenting just as October did.
It’s Tuesday 31st October, 2017 and that can only mean one thing; it’s the end of Blogtober and I officially completed the whole challenge!
Although to some it may not sound like a big deal, Blogtober has been incredibly hard and challenging – and I’m so proud of myself for completing it. I managed to write an impressive 31 posts over the month of October, writing them amidst a house move, work and a busy schedule. In all honesty I didn’t think I’d be able to do it but now that I have I feel really pleased.
For my final Blogtober post I want to reflect over the month of October and Blogtober and share my personal highlights with you, as well as a few things I have found challenging and what I have taken away from it all.
You’re too sensitive. You need to grow a thicker skin! Stop taking everything to heart. You take everything so personally.
Over the years I’ve heard them all, every single one of them. I am an emotional person, highly sensitive and I care a lot. In this society emotion is often perceived as a sign of weakness, so it’s really no surprise that time and again I am lectured on my feelings and expected to reign them in. (more…)
It’s Thursday 12th and I have managed to rope my fiancé in to co-writing todays Blogtober post with me. And guess what? It’s a couples tag!
I can hardly believe it is October already, it seems like just a minute ago it was August and I was walking with my mother, staring up at the tall Horse Chestnut trees and wishing for the conkers to fall! September was a very difficult month for my family and I, but I tried to celebrate and appreciate all of the small things; Autumn months are my favourite after all. I’m really hoping for a positive and fun-filled October so to celebrate this month I’m taking part in a bloggers challenge; Blogtober!
If I’m being totally honest I would say that 90% of my life is made up of guilty pleasures. That’s why I could completely relate to Meg’s hilarious post (you can find it here!) and found myself giggling along in agreement. I was super-happy to be tagged by Meg to take part in this Q&A as I love a good over-share. Okay, here we go…
I recently wrote a piece for Girl Planet magazine, detailing my experiences with mental health and self-care. In that piece I spoke about how combining two of my greatest passions, nature and photography, helped me to cope with my anxiety. I am a firm believer that nature is one of the greatest healers; that it can do wonders for a range of mental health illnesses. No, it’s not a magical cure (or an alternative to medicine) but I really do believe it has a place in day-to-day life and should be a part of all of our self-care routines, where possible.
Here’s why I think nature is good for your mental health…
The other day I had a moment of despair; it was the grim realisation that almost none of my friends bother to read the blog posts I spend so many hours writing and editing. For awhile I have been bugging them to read, to comment and to share; to support my dreams and help me grow. I posted status after status calling for help, but my friends didn’t respond. I’ll be honest here, the frustration and hurt left me sunk deep in a pit of apathy and self-loathing- if I couldn’t even get my friends to care about what I was writing, how on earth would anyone else ever be interested? I had thoughts of deleting social media, deactivating accounts and taking a break from writing. But of course I didn’t because like all of the writers I’ve ever admired, I decided to share the experience and write about it instead.
Today is a special day over here at Pretty Little Finch. If you hadn’t already guessed by the title, this post is the 100th to be published up on the blog!
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind two years really. When I first started Pretty Little Finch it was a journal of sorts. Something to help me remember the good times when I wasn’t feeling so great, and an outlet for me to share all the thoughts swirling around up inside my brain. But as time has passed it has developed and grown. Looking back at some of my earlier posts I find there’s so much I want to rewrite!
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that make us stop and think about life as we know it.
Recently I found myself in such a situation, and it prompted me in to thinking about circumstance; about how we can’t always curate our lives no matter the planning we put in, no matter the hours we spend obsessing and constructing. I am one of those people who cannot stand leaving things to chance. I have to have a plan; even if the plan is wonky or flawed there has to be something in place – it’s what keeps my bones together.
When I was 15 I decided I would grow up to be a journalist. Although my plans altered and adapted as time and situations passed it was still a path I followed in my mind and in my actions. At a certain age I’d marry. Then I’d have kids. Then a dog would follow. Everyone thinks like that, to some extent – I’m not alone in my ignorance. In my mind there was a linear timeline of events that would pan out through my life; everything would happen in the order that I had imagined for it.
But then life threw a curve-ball at me. And then another. And another. On it went and each time something new and unplanned was hurled at me I would adapt – because that’s what we are born to do. The plan would be revisited. Re-imagined. Tailored to suit the new situation – for better or for worse. It wasn’t ideal, no. It wasn’t what I had originally wanted for myself; but it was okay. And actually, I was quietly proud of myself for being able to survive the things I didn’t think I ever could have. When a therapist told me that I was resilient I congratulated myself on it, thinking it was a strength I possessed that would see me through anything that was thrown my way.
But I was wrong again.
Because you see, even the best laid plans can fall apart. And even the strongest or most resilient of people can struggle to pick up the pieces after something bad has happened in their life. And even if you think you’re ready to take anything on, the chances are you’re not.
So when this latest bad news was delivered to me, I finally came to understand that although I thought I was prepared for sadness, upheaval, change etc… I really was not. And in part I still think it’s down to the fact that I hadn’t planned for this to happen so I hadn’t ever imagined it as a scenario that could play out. It made me think that I had a taken a lot for granted, just expecting things to be a given because well, I was too ignorant to imagine an alternative.
Now I feel as if I finally understand the fickle nature of life. And I’m just about beginning to wrap my head around the idea that you can’t truly plan a single thing in life; each day is precious and you never know what’s around the corner. But that’s not where this post ends.
I still believe in planning a future. I still believe in hoping for things. I won’t stop trying to carve the path I want for myself and my life even if in the end those plans don’t come to fruition. I won’t give up on my hope for a better future.
That said, I will appreciate and treasure the smaller things in life that I failed to appreciate and treasure before all of this happened. I will stop taking things and people for granted. I will not overestimate my ability to cope when things are tough. And I will take each day as it comes. Each day of rain, of wind and of storm.
Because like a wildflower, I will seek beauty in the bleakest of landscapes. Moments of happiness in a time that stretches ahead with uncertainty.
Like a wildflower, I will grow where I am planted. I have to bloom and strive towards the sun in order to survive- we all do.
Think back to your childhood. Do you remember writing your name and the date in the front cover of your favourite book? When I was around eight years old I found the most perfect – albeit battered and falling apart – book on birds for sale in our local library. I loved it so much that I wrote my name, the date and my age inside of it, thus claiming it as mine forever and ever.
I no longer have that book, and I no longer scrawl my name inside of book covers. But to this day, I’m still fascinated by finding secret hidden messages in books.
It’s been a little while since I wrote a personal blog post and today I thought I would just check in with where I’m at. I like to reflect on what I’m doing every now and then as it’s good to look back and see how far I’ve come and acknowledge what I have achieved. I don’t think I do it often enough!
The other day I found myself feeling really down and depressed about my blog. I had been writing for over a year, putting a lot of time and effort in to good quality posts but yet not attracting as many views and readers as I thought I should be.
Sunlight filters through lush green leaves and the sky is a brilliant blue, dappled with soft, lazy clouds. The scent of lavender hangs on the crisp air and birds can be heard singing and chirping from high above. Everywhere you look there is life and colour; Spring heralds a new season and new beginnings.
There’s something about the seasons Autumn and Spring that speaks deeply to my soul. One brings death, the other brings birth; both bring a spectacular change in the flora and fauna around us. Both dazzle me with their beauty.
And there’s something about Spring that always makes me feel like I have a fresh start. A fresh chance to take adventures, appreciate natural beauty and find inner peace. March through to July are happy, calm months for me. I enjoy sitting outside in the comfortable climate and soaking up my surroundings. Walks in the countryside are particularly pleasing; I still feel a thrill every time I see a white cotton tail darting out of sight or spot some delicate crocuses pushing through the soil to soak up the sun.
The moment I spot daffodils I feel that Spring is on its way in. The buttery yellow flowers are symbolic of the changing of seasons to me, and I love how cheerful and bright they make everything seem. I love the flowers that begin to bloom as it gets warmer, and the heavily scented blossoms that hang from the trees. I love to watch the butterflies finally emerge with their powdery wings, and the bees buzzing between the flower beds and borders of a beautifully manicured garden. Most of all I love to watch the birds collect twigs and straw to make their nests, raise their young and start to fill the mornings with their beautiful song.
Spring feels like a gasp of fresh air after the dark nights, stark trees and bitter chill of Winter. It is a beautiful season and it is almost upon us. Can we all just take a moment to appreciate how wonderful that is?