Wednesday, 30 November 2011

You Tell Me... How do you know you’re on the right track?

Image thanks to michael

In my last ‘You Tell Me...’ I asked: what do you do when life gets in the way of your dreams? There were some blooming-brilliant responses and it really highlighted for me that so many of us are in the same boat and how, if we just reached out a little more, we could be comforted by that fact! The topic is one I'm pretty sure we're all still wrestling with, so I thought I'd expand on it a little...

I think that it can be incredibly easy to be idealistic and, I believe, a wonderfully pure trait to see in people. But if the shine of that ideal starts to wear off and you aren’t able to roll with the punches, you might be in trouble.

One way that you can stay positive when the sun goes in for a moment is to know you’re headed somewhere. That is why goals are so important to us – because they help us to believe it’s all for a reason; that the road leads somewhere; that there will be gold at the end of the rainbow. Golly, we humans do love a guarantee.

But nothing is guaranteed. Two years ago I would most definitely not have said I’d be in the situation I am now: working a job I don’t like to pay for a lifestyle I’m not sure I’m enjoying. But life had other plans.

I think, though, that when we find the winding road between realism and positivity – life starts to be a bit more of a joy ride and less of a woe-wagon. What you do with what life dishes up; the dialogue you choose to engage in with it (because you are not living a monologue, the world has a few things it wants to tell you!) – is all about attitude.

Like today: I started today off feeling pretty miserable. I did not want to get out of bed. I did not want to go to work. I was plagued by crushing comparisons of how “popular” Charade is against some of the other blogs I read (and this was despite the fact that I’m possibly getting featured in a local newspaper and I discovered I’ve had 150,000 absolute unique visitors since this blog began – get some perspective, Megan!) What’s more: I had love-life melancholy. Cooey! Your one way ticket to doldrumsville has been delivered!

And yet, by the end of the day I practically skipped home from work – content with where I am and with a mega-exciting business idea for the future. I’d given my attitude the shake-down and a kick in the tushy. How? I decided to renew my appreciation for the fact that I am where I need to be. Not necessarily in a new-age, the-universe-has-a-plan, fateful kind of way (if that doesn’t float your boat) but in the way that everything I’m doing adds strings to my bow; every challenging period is making me more prepared for the next; and every seeming-catastrophe actually shows me great windows of opportunity.

This is priceless, real world experience that I’m learning from – not just the reeled-off case studies of a self-development book or blog. And it is always our own experiences that are the most valuable, not the packaged and sold experiences of others (though they can be an amazing source of inspiration). Furthermore, although some things may not be living up to the ideal I had painted for my life beyond university, conversely, some things I could never have idealised have happened to change me for the better. And woo-hecking-hoo for it!

I’ve done the playing hard, now I’m working hard and I’m planning hard. This is the period of my life that I’m in – and, by accepting and embracing it, I let myself make the most of it. A reality-check is a teacher. Being put in a situation I would never choose for myself means I’m learning new things about myself all the time. Those are the positives. And positivity is the attitude I like to wear.

So, gang: could the same be said for you? If you could know, in your heart, that you’re on track to something – a ‘what if’ – might you be happier? And, if you were happier, might you be more resilient? Might you get more from your current situation? Are you on the right track?

You tell me!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Words to Live By #169

Image thanks to yvette

"The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely."
Louisa May Alcott

Sunday, 27 November 2011

A Peek at the Week: Birthday Bliss, Day Trips & Glorious Gifts

My dears, it has been a whole week of birthday celebrations for this girl! Things kicked off with my trip to Edinburgh, pictures of which I'll save for a post all their own. This weekend my parents were visiting and I got a lovely bundle of gifts including a hand-made quilt from my very talented mama! Cake was also consumed. Today we enjoyed a tasty veggie roast dinner, followed by a stroll around the National Trust estate of Lacock. Oh, and may I introduce you to our new family Labradoodle, Molly. She is a sweety and, as you can imagine, gets a lot of attention!

I hope you had a week to remember.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Words to Live By #168

Image thanks to yvette

"We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems."
Margaret Mead

Sunday, 20 November 2011

A Peek at the Week: Mo'Vintage, Mo'Bristol and... Moussaka!

Yet another vintage fair. Does it seem like I go to vintage fairs every week now? I think maybe I do. This one was the affordable vintage fair at Bristol's Council House. It was a good time. Naturally there was bunting.

Moussaka for two. Lentil moussaka, that is. And, f.y.i., veggie cooking makes for a good date - you heard it here first.

Bristol. Oh how I love your colourful, kooky ways! I walked past the Occupy Bristol site today which is fast becoming what the settlers are calling a "slum city". Power to the people in action.

Tea. I live off the stuff. It's like my fuel. And now I've discovered I can buy it in pretty boxes like these from Higher Living... swoon!

Packing for Edin-brr (you see what I did there? It's going to be cold - geddit?) As you read this I shall be preparing to board a plane bound for a birthday extravaganza in the Scottish capital of Dùn Èideann (that'd be Gaelic. Boom.) Wish me a good one!

Have a great Sunday, sunshine.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Saturday Salute 19.11.11

Image thanks to nemariella

It's my birthday in two days! Twenty-three... yet somehow I don't feel a day over thirteen. If you're a long-time follower you'll know my penchant for birthday getaways, and this year is no different as I'm off to visit Ellen in Edinburgh. Yippee! I predict lots of charity/vintage shopping, sight-seeing, plenty of chatting over coffees and de-lish meals, as well as our usual dose of excited cooing.

The links? Why, I thought you'd never ask!

// Helen did a laavley job (that's my faux-cockney accent) of jazzing up these drawers - is it wrong that I'm tempted to do this to my whole kitchen? Say it is or I'll do it I tells'ya!

// Sarah Von discusses how she stays optimistic.

// ...aaand Seth Godin is even on about optimistic enthusiasm as a form of realism, so an optimistic outlook has got to be worth a punt!

// Lana Del Ray just became my ultimate girl crush/ girl I dream of being in another life:

Phew-ee. Girl's got it going on.


Friday, 18 November 2011

Friday Feature: Defshop

Guess what, folks? That's right, it's feature time again! I'm two weeks late posting about these fuh-hab-ulous winter booties I scored from the wonderful chaps at Defshop (after giving you a sneaky peak!) so it's about time I hopped to it and started listing off the merits of this online shop that's hot hot HOT.

Yeah, I dance alone in my living room with my camera on timer. andwot?

Yeah, so, guys, we pretty much love these boots, okay? They have the royal flush of winter footwear by being a) comfortable, b) warm, and c) styliiiiish. You're feeling it. The brand is Coolway who have a cute lil'owl logo and who I'd never heard of before but am now a serious fan of.

Are they going to go with everything, or are they going to go with EVERYTHING? They're going to go with everything. 

Let us say thanks to Defshop by spending a moment browsing their website that's choc-a-bloc of seriously cute urban clothesies. They have fashion by Vero Moda (if you haven't heard of Vero Moda, you need to be initiated before I can say 'best. for. basics') As you can see from my gift they also stock all kinds of kick-ass sneakers and shoes. They might even be the shop to stop at if you're hankering after a cozy winter jacket

Thanks Defshop! We ♥ you!

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

7 Ways to Celebrate Yourself Daily

Image thanks to hillary

I don't know about you, but time seems to be moving pretty fast for me at the moment (um... bye then 2011!) And with the days slipping away in a fog of full-time work, it's more important for me than ever to make sure I'm staying on track with being the girl I want to be: a girl worth celebrating.

So... tah-dah! Here is my list of ways that you can make your days stand-out with a little self-celebration; 7 ways for 7 days!

♥ Take responsibility.
Own who you are. The shiny bits and the smudgy bits. You’re not a victim; you’re not anyone else’s prize or anyone else’s problem. When you stand up and take responsibility for who you are and what you are doing with your life – without putting it down to your parents, or your boyfriend, or whoever – you own your mistakes. But then, you own your miracles, too. Trust me, it's empowering.

♥ Get honest with the world, if you want us to believe you’re serious...
When you meet someone new and they ask you what you do – don’t dumb it down, don’t smooth the edges, don’t hold back in embarrassment – take the opportunity to tell them your wildest dreams. You’re a cartoonist. You’re a musician. You’re an academic. After all, scoffs are pretty much the universal language of people’s own insecurities.

♥ Dress up.
Put on an extra piece of jewellery. Wear a brighter colour. Paint your nails. Whether it’s off to the office, a day at the library, or some lavish leisure time: make what you wear worthwhile. There is never a better reason to dress up than merely for the sake of it: for the sake of colour and art and beauty. So today is as good a day as any.

♥ Smile. A lot.

"Guess why I smile a lot? Uh...Cause it's worth it." Marcel the Shell

Could I give a better explanation than that? Don't think so.

 Do everything with intention.
Everything you do at every moment of the day is a choice, but often it doesn't feel that way. When you get up in the morning for that job you don't like, it may feel like you have to but, really, you don't. You could stay in bed. Get fired. Move home to your parents. But you don't want to do that. Recognise that your life really is the product of the intention you are investing it with. Intend on enjoying your first cup of tea of the day. Intend on getting the most from your work day. Intend on walking home rather than catching the bus to get some exercise. Intend on celebrating. Live like you mean it.

♥ Celebrate others.
Your friends, family, boyfriend, colleagues, pets (!) - they all have traits worth celebrating - and when you learn to recognise what is worth celebrating in others, you learn to see it in yourself. You might know from experience that often the most negative, critical people are those with the lowest opinions of themselves. You don't fit that category, beautiful. Give compliments. Be charming. Celebrate the world and the people that surround you.
You are a wonderful work in progress, and you always will be - stop striving for a shiny final ideal. You make mistakes, you let go of the thread, you keep truckin', and you flower over and over again. You're doing great.

How will you be celebrating yourself daily? What's your favourite of my suggestions?

Monday, 14 November 2011

Words to Live By #167

Image thanks to yyellowbird

"The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of Right just before you."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, 13 November 2011

A Peek at the Week: The American Museum

Another cheat-peek I'm afraid as I was having far too much fun this week to remember to take pictures! Oops. But a good opportunity to hit you with my photography skillz from a beautiful Autumn day at The American Museum near Bath. It's such a lovely place - I highly recommend a visit and a wander around the grounds on a sunny afternoon.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Saturday Salute 12.11.11

Image thanks to emily

Good afternoon all! I have had a rip-roaring week of wine-swilling, band watching, bus-kissing, falafel-eating, 9-5 working (boo!) flu-fighting nuttiness, so alas I have neglected you. Forgive me! I accept a sharp slap on the wrist and will be back on the blog clock this week. 

Anyone for links?

// My bezzie, Ellen, has started a blog and P.S we love it. She will squeal with delight if you follow!

// Positively Present discusses staying positive in the 21st century.

// Pretty, pretty San Francisco.

// Nice.

Have a lovely weekend buttercups.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Words to Live By #166

Image thanks to filtran

"If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get."
Frank A. Clark

Sunday, 6 November 2011

A Peek at the Week: Pretty Postcards, D.I.Y Decor and New Booties

Thoughtful postcards from lovely people. Two very meaningful postcards came my way recently. Sometimes it's nice to have the people you most respect and care about reflect a little of that back on you. This one also came with some pretty epic advice!

Photo projects. Do you like my little D.I.Y. photo project? It has made quite a difference to my still rather bare flat!

Home. With the above photos, plus some other little touches, the old place is really starting to feel like home. I've been reminded of my need for groundedness at the beginning of the year, and how I've really found that in recent weeks.

New boots. A rather sneaky peek at my new boots which I'll be 'featuring' on Friday!

Other things that happened: lots of 4OD; over indulging on three course dinners topped off with amaretto coffee; fireworks with friends; a Jimmy Hendrix tribute band; pizza dancing; texts that make you smile to yourself and cute boys with nose rings...

I hope you had a noteworthy week!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

The Saturday Salute 05.11.11

Image thanks to ianôhara

Wahoo it's the night of cold cheeks, bonfires and a sky full o'fireworks! What are your plans? I shall be looking to the heavens with too good friends, atop a hill, hopefully with a mug of warm cider if I can find any... But let's get linked up first:

// Saki Miu stock lots of pretty.

// And let's now get a bit musical because, well, why not?!

C.W. Stoneking should be somebody you love:

And this should flood your day with a little soulful sassiness:

I love and believe in you more each day, as you should love and believe in yourself. Hasta pronto chicas.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Start a Good News Diary

Image thanks to lifelike

Best bit of advice I’ve had in a long time? That, unsurprisingly, was the passed-down wisdom of my awesomely-elderly grandmother? Start a good news diary.

What is a good news diary? I’ll tell you.

Many of you will keep daily journals.

I don’t.

Say what? Nuh-uh. I know, I know: I’m a writer. But I don’t write a journal. And I can’t even blame the blog in a sort of this-takes-up-so-much-of-my-time sob story, because I’ve never journalled with any regularity: only on holidays. I’d love to, but it just don’t come’natural to me, and forced writing is the pits. But I know – trust me, I know – what I’m missing out on. I actively envy those who keep daily life-bites to look back on; blissfully bathed in a dusty attic sunbeam years from now. So that’s why the idea of a good news diary arrived like birdsong to my ears.

One simple yet sensational sentence to write each day in response to the question: what was the best thing that happened to you today?


The most straightforward way to shake-up your perspective and practice appreciative living. And soon enough you’ll have volumes of all the reasons it’s great to be you, and be able to confidently look back and say ‘it’s been a great week!’ – or month – or year.

What will it be today?

I made somebody smile.


I fell a little bit in love.

or even just

I whipped up an awesome winter soup.

Even if a day goes by in which it seems nothing good happened, you can always write, as my grandma recounted a little girl she knew saying: I didn’t get eaten by a crocodile.

Because you didn’t, did you.

Try it now in glorious anticipation of 2012 (I think you might love it).