Frenemies on Social Media

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This has been on my mind for a while but more as a little gripe than anything worth talking about. It should be something I can brush off without further thought because it’s so tiny and so stupid really, and 99% of the time I do simply brush it off. But now feels right to discuss that silly little 1% that bothers me.

Frenemies, or Fake Friends, on Social Media.

I’ve had to step back from a few Frenemy friendships over the years but I remain ‘friends’ with them on social media because,  although it didn’t feel healthy for me to be in their company on a regular basis anymore, I still cared for them and I wanted to keep in touch (conveniently I moved away, which gave me the perfect excuse to distance myself literally without hurting anybody).

Even though time and distance has separated us and mutually our interactions have reduced down to the odd ‘like’, ‘comment’ and annual ‘Happy Birthday!’ post, every so often their indirect actions still manage to sting a little, and remind me why I had to step back.

You see, I’ve been promoting my Etsy store a lot in the run-up to Christmas and as I’ve done so I’ve noticed who is supporting me and who is silent. And these particular Frenemies have ignored every post I’ve written about it.

Without going into the finer details of how the Facebook News Feed works, which I know all about, just trust me when I say this: I know them well enough to know that they are ignoring me anytime I have anything positive and personal to share, and I know why they do this. It was evident back when we were friends, and it is still evident now, that they were and are threatened that I at least give my dreams a go.

They were never interested or supportive. Whenever I accomplished anything good it was either met with disdain or skimmed over completely, never to be acknowledged again. I learnt to keep quiet: it just made for a more pleasant evening with them if I remained small.

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So when I write something, and within minutes I see them online, ‘like’ing or ‘comment’ing on mutual friends’ – or worse other artists’ or entrepreneur’s – status updates, I cannot help but feel that a decision has been made on their part – be it conscious or subconscious – not to support ME for some reason.

I can tell from their online behaviour towards me over the years that they have a very specific set of criteria that merit a positive, or in fact ANY, acknowledgement of me and I’m sure there will be many of you out there who will have similar Frenemies doing this too. I will only get a acknowledgement if I say something inane, bland, neutral. “I’ve had 3 glasses of wine tonight” for example. Nothing that denotes going anywhere nice, doing anything fun, or achieving anything good.

I admit I am a very sensitive person! 😉 Duh I write about depression and anxiety! But whether I am in fact being paranoid, or whether I have got it spot on, it brings back memories of times when any good news I had – even something as small as going on a 2nd date – became too uncomfortable to be aired.

It reflects the dynamic of our original friendship only too well. I would support anything good that happened to them and support them through anything bad, and they could not hear anything good that happened to me and only had an interest in the neutral or the bad times (as long as they weren’t too bad to warrant any special attention).

I dunno. Can anyone else relate to this?? xx

When Writing is your Life Purpose

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Wow, it’s been a while since my last post. I’m sorry about that.

If you follow me on social media you’ll have seen I’ve been really focused lately on redesigning my Etsy store and on creating my Christmas products which, for the first time, I’ve decided to get professionally printed instead of making everything by hand and to order. I also did my first craft fair!

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I’m proud of myself for pulling it all off but now comes the even harder part of attracting buyers – hence why I’ve had to put more time into it.

I was also hired for two acting jobs which took up a lot of time line learning, rehearsing and performing. AND I’ve taken a Christmas temp job at Lush which I am loving!

It’s actually been a really good couple months. Busy, but rewarding. And fun. One of those rare times in life when everything seems to be going right. It only strengthens my belief that doing work you love improves your quality of life overall.

But I have missed writing here, and filming my YouTube videos. I’ve felt the intuitive nudge urging me to return for weeks, but not felt the right moment to actually DO it. But in the bath just now I pulled the above card from Doreen Virtue’s Life Purpose deck – ‘Writing’ – and I decided it was time.

Rather than cram every area of my life into this one blog post, I thought I’d write a little update series throughout the coming week so that I can discuss mental health, veganism and working at Lush, plus any other little titbits, in more detail without fulfilling my NaNoWriMo word count in one blog post! (Although that would be useful as I am only 1600 words in – fail!).

So thanks for standing by, and I look forward to reconnecting! xxx

 

Pushing through nasty self-doubt

Last week I decided to gift myself a 3.5 day workweek at the temp job, so I could get some extra rest and catch up on my business.

After a 3.5 day weekend I have added 3 new pieces to my second Etsy store loveandthebreath, one of which (pictured below) is now live.

I picked up a load of vintage stamps from an antiques fair and I’ve been enjoying exploring the mixed media style.

However that’s not why I’m writing this blog post.

I’m writing this because the first thing I did today, as I sat down for my final painting session of the weekend, was decide I’d just have a quick browse at the best way to photograph art canvases.

That’s how it started. So innocently!

Clicking onto Google Images I started to scroll, admiring the pieces and noting with casual objectivity the lighting and background of each photo.

Then I noticed an art piece made of stamps.

I clicked to enlarge it. Then I clicked on the ‘View More’ link beside it.

Long story short, I ended up on Pinterest scrolling through hundreds of ‘Postage Stamp Art’ boards as I got an increasingly nasty sinking feeling in my stomach. Oh yeah, and I started holding my breath!

Without meaning to, I had made myself feel like proper shit. I was suddenly confronted with loads of art that, naturally, obviously, was way more professional-looking and creative and just more deserving of a presence on this earth than mine.

I started to feel like a fraud. I was imagining that the minute my art goes live online I’m going to get bombarded with angry comments and emails telling me it’s crap and offensive and overpriced.

It actually made me feel sick, and I still feel sick hours later (thanks anxiety, THANKS!).

Normally I would’ve given into it and run upstairs to climb into bed and hide.

BUT…

This time, I persevered. How?

Well first I searched for uplifting music on YouTube: I found a long instrumental piece, one of those 2 hour spa soundtracks, and stuck that on, and concentrated on it. It was extremely hard at first because the last thing I wanted to do at that point was create anything, but it quickly took the edge off the power of my horrible self-doubting thoughts because I was distracted away from panicking about my breath and my imminent humiliation and failure.

And then I asked myself, which would make me feel better when I am sitting at my temp job on Monday morning:

  1. Thinking about the art pieces I told colleagues I was taking time off to create, and did indeed start, but didn’t manage to complete because I wimped out (plus added bonus: ridiculing and berating myself for calling myself an artist), or;
  2. Thinking about the art pieces I pushed through massive mental discomfort to complete and post online, and wondering who might be looking at them right now and thinking ‘cor that’s good’ and considering making a purchase?

That thought together with the distracting but peaceful music got me through.

Not only did it get me through; it got me to a place where I could still create despite how I felt.

Next time you get that sick heavy feeling in your tummy because your self-doubt is starting to kick in, try blasting some music – any music you can stand to hear in that moment – and then reframe the task you want to accomplish, in a way that makes you feel empowered not guilt-tripped.

Tell yourself the threat is in your head.

Be brave. Oh, and breathe. That’s important too.

Bumbling round Cambridge

Yesterday we took a trip to Cambridge to check out an Etsy fair!

The fair was at the Round Church. It is very pretty inside and well worth a look, there’s a lot of info about the history of Cambridge inside.

The fair itself though was tiny. I was a bit dismayed that I’d dragged us 1.5 hours away for a fair that took 5 minutes to walk round and cost £4 entry for the privilege! That being said we did see some really lovely crafts, particularly ZantheArtisan who combines wreaths with beautiful needlefelt creatures!

With plenty of time left on our hands we decided to explore the city a bit, as although we’ve both been there many times before we rarely get time to just bumble round. Opposite the church was Hardys sweetie shop with this amazing display of giant sweets! I used to love sherbert and flying saucers!

Normally when I walk past such a place as this I would be helplessly sucked in by its tractor beam to buy as many Butterfingers and Reeses anything as I can carry, but we had already stocked up on sweet treats from Fudge Kitchen.

I only managed to get a shot of the window display because once inside it’s pretty packed, but I think this has a little something to do with the abundant free samples on offer! Once you get past the people crowding round the sample trays it was quite quick to order and OMG the fudge was SO incredibly delicious, in fact one sample I tried was so fresh it was still warm and extra gooey. I bought a slab of chocolate fudge that seriously tastes like chocolate ganache! Screw the sugar free diet for this stuff!!!

Along the same street as Fudge Kitchen are a few very cool art gallery/shops with some brilliant illustrations and sculpture pieces in the windows. I’ve tried to google the artists or at least locate which shop I saw them in, as I feel guilty posting their work without giving them credit, but I can’t find the information now – if you are the artist or know them, please get in touch!

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Opposite this line of shops was Kings College which deservingly attracts a lot of visitors as it is both historic and beautiful. I tried to take a selfie as I also wanted to show off my halo braid but I didn’t manage to pull it off, I just look windswept lol 🙂

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I love the statues that adorn many of the historic buildings around Cambridge and in particular I was tickled by this pigeon’s choice of perch – I wonder what Henry VIII would’ve had to say about it!

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I also found Henry at Trinity College, sans pigeon.

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There were a few street performers dotted around but I was really impressed by a girl called Sarah Jane who had a fantastic voice. By contrast, I was also impressed (in a WTF way!) by this guy who was playing guitar in a bin 🙂

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We had a couple of refreshment breaks throughout the day but unfortunately I was so hungry/thirsty I forgot to take any pictures.

But I CAN heartily recommend where we went. When we first got to Cambridge we went straight to Cafe Sicilia, an independently run Sicilian cafe which makes their own Italian cakes and treats on the premises. It’s very popular with locals 🙂 I had a beautifully thick and tasty hot chocolate with soy milk, and a freshly baked margherita pizzette.

Then, before leaving the city for the trek home I decided to try my first ever bubble tea at Ooshi which is conveniently next door to Cafe Sicilia! I went for passion fruit mixed with green tea and mango balls. It was really nice! But even though I only ordered a small sized drink, I couldn’t finish it as I’m not used to drinks that sweet.

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A little tip if you are wishing to visit Cambridge – parking is expensive! We would normally park at one of the Park n Ride’s outside the centre and take a bus in, but as we were running late we drove straight into the city and parked at Queen Anne Terrace multistorey car park. It is really close to the centre and for a 4 hour stay we spent £5 which in Cambridge is pretty reasonable.

Baxter & I deliver my Etsy sale!

Whenever I make a sale on my Etsy store I have a tradition when it comes to despatch day: no matter what the weather, I grab my iPod and Baxter and I stroll down to our local village post office.

It’s a really precious feeling to me, to have things I have imagined and created be purchased and go off to all corners of the globe.

It’s also a great feeling to walk past the big office block, like so many I have worked in before, and think ‘it’s 11.00am and I am outside in the sun and fresh air with my dog, my tunes and a piece of my art that someone has bought from me, actually bought!’. It feels right, and it feels like utter peace and contentment in my heart.

The tunes help as well – today’s highlights were ‘The Unbirthday Song’ from Alice in Wonderland, ‘Fat-bottomed Girls’ by Queen and ‘Fool on the Hill’ by the Beatles. I naturally gravitate towards peppy beats and motivational (or silly) lyrics, and just generally feel kick-ass!!!

So if you ever see me walking along with a huge grin on my face, you’ll know I am delivering a sale!

I thought today I’d take a few photos of our journey so you can come along with us – for a truly authentic experience you may want to peruse them whilst listening to a Disney soundtrack of your choice 🙂

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Here I am all wrapped up – we’ve had some snow over the last couple days so it’s a bit slippery but surprisingly not too cold.

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And here’s my walking companion Master Baxter leading the way!

IMG_6120Baxter’s a funny old thing (aren’t they all!) he hates the rain and wind, but snow and ice are absolutely fine. In fact he kept trying to rub himself on the ice!

IMG_6127Here we are at the Post Office. I tie Baxter up by the ‘Walls Ice Cream’ sign and pop inside: I love handing over my card, it’s so exciting! Then I come back out and give Baxter a few treats for being a good boy, and then we walk home.

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When I get home I mark my Etsy sale as dispatched, and then Baxter and I have a celebratory snuggle.

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And that’s it!

Have a happy Hump Day everybody 🙂 xx

loveandthebreath

This week has been crazy: I created my YouTube channel and filmed, edited and uploaded my first vlog.

I started a course in Lunar Flow, which requires me to keep a diary to help me track my moods and energy levels in relation to the moon cycle.

And, I spent a lot of time getting excited for my weekend away with my boyfriend for my birthday 🙂

Amongst all that, I forgot that I also set up my second Etsy store this week… Maybe because I already have an Etsy store so it wasn’t a first – and it wasn’t as terrifying as publishing my first vlog.

But then, a big brash entrance wouldn’t suit the energy of my new store.

It’s called loveandthebreath.

Love – because we are Love.
Breath – because Breath is our connection to Love.

This is a much more personal store for me. It has been born out of my daily spiritual practice, and is a way that I can contribute some peaceful loving energy to the world 🙂

My hope is that whether you practice yoga, energy healing or meditation; whether you believe in magic, miracles or angels; whether you practice daily affirmations or daily gratitude, then you are my kindred spirit and the products in loveandthebreath will, I hope, speak to you.

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I will be expanding the store over the next couple weeks so please do bookmark it and check back for more items 🙂

In the meantime, happy Sunday everyone xx

iTunes, smarties & sausage dogs

I’ve been in my studio for 3 hours so far today and my time has been apportioned thus:

Painting = 20 mins
Downloading music = 30 mins
Organising my iTunes library into playlists = 30 mins
Eating smarties = 30 mins
Playing with Baxter = 1 hour

I am just not feeling productive at all! Which is weird because as soon as I woke up this morning I gave my daily gratitude to the Universe, I gave myself a reiki treatment and then did some yoga. So I was warmed up, balanced and feeling great: surely the best way to maximise the day’s productivity?

But no. Maybe this is my higher self’s response: that I need to play and take some time out. And eat a lot of smarties. It makes me feel guilty though, especially when I’ve been on such a roll yesterday this week both with my Etsy store (I uploaded 5 new items, check them out here!) and my gradual weaning off sugar and dairy.

In fairness, perhaps it isn’t such a great mystery why I’m not focused 100%, with this happening, but what you gonna do!