Saturday, 14 October 2017

Taking a Break

Let's have an honest chat. Not that any chat we've had before has been dishonest, but you know what I mean. Pull up a chair, grab a macaron or any other baked good of choice, and let's get cracking, shall we?

This past year has been amazing. I've done things I never thought I could. I've seen new places, I've made new friends, I've done new things, I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone and I've got stuff done. You'll hear all about it in my annual recap.

But it's also been really, really tough in terms of blogging, vlogging, and general social media-ing... and according to people I've asked, I've been good at covering it up (that'll be thanks to scheduled posts) which I was happy to hear. But it's got to a point where I'm down to one scheduled post, and I have absolutely no motivation or ideas. It's not something I'm able to cover up anymore. And after thinking about it, I don't think I should have to.

The thing is, I've been blogging for a long time, and the majority of that time has been spent blogging about the same thing: books. After a while, you're bound to hit a wall - and it seems I have. I've been denying it to myself for months. It really, really pains me, because I don't know where I'd be without this blog. It's been the biggest part of my life for the majority of my life, and it's scary when that changes. I mean, there was a point when I was at my worst, health-wise, where blogging was all I did. It got me through the day. Go in my bedroom (ahem, that's not an invitation) and nearly everything you see came directly or indirectly from my blog. Look at my shelves and it's the same story. Look at my group of friends and, yep, most of them are people I met through this blog. Things I've done, places I've visited, achievements I've made? Again, mostly thanks to my little slice of Internet. Even the completion of my A Levels was made possible thanks to this place.

And I haven't read a book in months. Don't get me wrong, there are loads that I want to read, but I'm always busy with other things, or exhausted after a full day at work, and as much as I love books and blogging and all the things that come with that - they just don't slot in anymore, not at the moment.

I've been delaying writing this blog post for the longest time, but the fact that I've been so constantly aware of it in the back of my mind for that period shows me that deep down, I know it's something I have to do. In over a decade of doing this blogging malarkey, I've only had one break, and that was in summer 2012. Five years ago.

This isn't the end. There are blog posts I'm excited to write, like the one about my trip to Paris, my annual recap, and my upcoming week of work experience at a publishing house. And when I get out of this reading slump I'm sure I'll be excited to write reviews again too, especially as it's been such a long time since my last one.

But at the moment, I'm in desperate need of a break from the pressure I put on myself. I can't keep pushing out a blog post and a video every week just for the sake of it, faking a smile when I'm not actually enjoying it as much as I used to. I need to take a step back, figure out what I want, and get my creativity back. I'll still be posting (like I said: Paris!) but I won't be pressuring myself to get something out there once a week. It'll be as and when it comes.

I'm sorry if this disappoints anyone, but it has to be done. I'll still be around, just not as frequently for the moment, and you can always find me over on Instagram and Twitter. I hope you understand.

See you again soon. ❤

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Why I'm Vegetarian

It's not something I really bring up, because why would I? Unless you've seen me complaining about the iconic moment a friend's parent offered me one single onion for my lunch as a kid, you might not have known that I'm vegetarian. Never eaten meat in my life, except for when I was in nursery and this boy brought in a box of mini sausage rolls for the class. I thought it was Quorn, guys, but how wrong I was.

Before I get into this post, though, I'm just going to clear something up: I'm actually pescetarian if you want to get technical about it, but the only fish I'll even let close to my plate is the battered kind you get from the chip shop, so it's easier to just tell people I'm veggie. If you tell someone you're pescetarian, you're going to be given prawns. I learned that the hard way, and I'm not about that life.

Why am I vegetarian? I get asked this a lot, because people have this weird fascination with it. In their eyes, I'm either deprived and neglected, forced to feast on one lettuce leaf per day, or I'm some kind of superhuman with the ability to restrain myself from the glorious lumps of flesh adorning every supermarket's meat counter. But my answer is a pretty boring one, if not slightly unusual: most of my family is vegetarian, so that's how I grew up, and that's how I've stayed.

I'm pretty sure both my mum's parents ate meat up until certain points, and then they became pescetarian. Later, my mum was born, so she never ate meat because they didn't - and the same happened with me. We've discussed it, actually - I don't think anyone would have minded if I'd started eating meat. I could eat it now if I wanted to and no one would mind. But because she'd never eaten it, it never crossed her mind to start giving it to me either, so in nineteen years I've never had it. Like I said before, 50% of people think I must be really strong to 'resist' it, but... it's never even been a temptation. You can't miss what you've never had, and it doesn't appeal to me in the slightest, not to mention the fact that it's been so long I think introducing meat into my diet now would cause me to become ill. It'd be too drastic a change - I know people who became vegetarian but had to start eating meat again as their bodies just couldn't cope.

Also - I really couldn't care less what you eat. Honestly. You do you. Of course I care about animal rights, but the only reason I'm vegetarian is because I grew up like that. I'm not going to lecture you on bacon, and I'm not going to be offended if you eat meat in front of me. I handle meat (oh shush) every day at work, and my step-dad eats it too. Whatever. Although I have to admit, why do people like the smell of meat cooking? Vom.

So that's me: eater of Quorn and lover of cute veggie cafes for the best part of two decades. Not a conscious choice, more something I never bothered to change because I didn't need to - and I don't see that ever changing!

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Friday, 29 September 2017

Tiny Hipsters Take Manchester

This summer, I met one of my oldest friends, Hawwa, for the first time. We had a very aesthetically-pleasing day in Shoreditch wandering around looking for good graffiti and interesting buildings, cameras constantly in or out of our bags as we battled against the rain. You can read about that here. And a few weeks later, we met up again, this time in Manchester...

Before I show you my photos, though, I'm going to tell you a story because if you're new to this blog and you don't know how tragic I am, you need to know how tragic I am. So a few weeks ago, I tried to do a favour for a friend and drove her to Peterborough... except I didn't realise I'd missed a turning, accidentally ended up on a motorway which was terrifying and NEVER AGAIN, and didn't realise anything had gone wrong until the signs for Peterborough were replaced with horrific signs like 'THE NORTH' and 'Kettering'. Where even is Kettering? I don't know. I don't care. In the end, we realised we were in fact near Nottingham and I cried a lot and it was horrible and my step-dad had to rescue us by finding us on very limited information and letting me follow him home. Genuinely traumatic. Anyway, that's just setting the scene for my actual story, which is: when I got on the train to Huddersfield... I didn't actually check what train I was getting on. I just saw that it was a Virgin train and hopped on. I was distracted by my quickly-cooling McDonald's, okay? I was in Doncaster before I realised that I shouldn't actually be in Doncaster. And later, when I had to catch another train, I just... didn't get on. It was right in front of me for several minutes and I had no idea because I was on Snapchat being hilarious. Then it disappeared off the departures board and the penny dropped.


So then I had to wait an hour. In the cold. Alone. Hungry. *slides tiny violin from tiny case*

I made it to Huddersfield eventually, which is where I stayed overnight with family. I've always loved this view. (BUT, I was forced to go to Toby's Carvery, and their idea of a 'meat-free roast dinner' is literally just vegetables. I rolled my eyes so hard I almost went blind.)

A new day arrived with the realisation that I'm as tall as just five Subway sandwiches (I know, right?) so I packed my bag and made my way back to the train station. A brave move considering my track-record, I'm sure you'll agree. But I made it to Manchester Piccadilly with no issues! And Hawwa greeted me with the usual insults but with an additional free cookie which was a nice turn of events.

We went to Afflecks, a stack of indie shops, and then the roof of a car park. Hawwa knows how to treat her guests. (But I do love rooftops and I love taking photos on them, to be fair...) After that, of course, we found the most hipster cafe you ever did see: the Foundation Coffee House. I WAS IN LOVE. We sat in the window eating ice cream and arranging our things for aesthetic flat-lays. Not even ashamed.

Literally none of you will be surprised by what we did next: we found a vintage photobooth. Obviously. Old film vibes, anyone? Until next time...

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