Remember 2017 When I Used To Share My Deepest Thoughts? Well We’re Doing That Again. Let’s Chat… About Grief

I’m not sure where to start. There’s a lot to unpack.

Sometimes, as I clean my teeth, I write a whole blog post in my head. I did that today, and now I need to get the ‘toothbrushing’ thoughts on to paper. Does anyone else do that? I’ve been in this blogging trade for 3 years, 3 of the most important years of my life, so it’s ingrained into me at this point.

Today I wanted to unpack. That’s an analogy that I will be using a lot in this post. First, my mind wandered to journaling. I thought it would be best to journal this. Then I realised, as I put literal pen to paper, that it would be too emotionally challenging. I know that sounds weak ‘you can’t even write, eww’ but honestly. I almost started crying.

As we head into a new month, you might be thinking about unloading the negativity, and only carrying through the good bits.

That, I’m afraid, doesn’t always work.

Right at the start of the year, I lost one of my closest relatives. I thought of telling you, but my blog at that time was so ‘professional’. To be honest, it didn’t really feel like me as I sat and wrote at the keyboard. I was ‘Erin’. Erin was almost like an alter-ego, but to a point where it felt kind of toxic. I loved the content I was writing, of course, but it didn’t feel like I was writing it. Erin wrote it. Erin received praise and accepted it gladly, but it all these lovely comments never felt like they were for me. I still struggle now. I AM Catherine. People DO care about and love my blog. It’s so hard to accept. But yes, I can be awesome sometimes. 

So I never told you.

It didn’t hit me until just today, 7 months after she had died. When I was first told, Mum said ‘grief comes in waves’ and I completely understand that now. 

Granny was probably the member of my family I was closest to, outside of Mum, Dad and Jon (my brother).

But when I heard the news I was completely unbothered and went on with my day. 

For 7 months I pretended everything was okay, and everything felt okay. Of course I was sad, but not as sad as I ‘should be’. 

Then came around mine and my brother’s birthdays.

She wasn’t there.

She won’t spring back from the dead to say happy birthday. What was I expecting? There was just this absence. It didn’t really feel like my birthday without Granny. And I know this isn’t the worst thing that could happen to me. I know people who have lost their parents at a young age, and I know that must feel 10x worse. But when it’s your first ‘proper’ loss, you are foolish, naive and don’t know what to expect. 

Today is my brother’s birthday, and my best friend’s. I should be happy. I had zuccini bread for breakfast, camped in my friend’s field, ate a ton of cake and spent time with family. Although I am content, it doesn’t stretch further than contentment. I am so incredibly grateful for today. I got to live another 24 spectacular hours on this planet.

I just feel a bit empty. 

Yesterday I was brimming with life and fun and excitement. That version of Catherine is still inside somewhere, just not today.

I find it hard to accept that in my perfect life, things can be less than perfect. I have everything a teenage girl could ask for. I live happily with my family. I have clean water, a bed and a roof over my head. A beautiful cat, a platform to share my thoughts and receive responses from like minded people.

On some days, though, you won’t be okay.

Now I would like to return to the analogy I mentioned at the beginning of the post, about ‘unpacking’.

We’re catching a flight to September. You have one suitcase and hand luggage. What are you going to take with you? What will you keep in your hand luggage, right by your side as you’re flying? And what will go below the seats, in your suitcase? 

No-one goes on holiday with all of their possessions.

You have a suitcase to pack. So pack it wisely.

You’re probably going to put in all the happy things and leave the negativity behind. You might take the good experiences with you and forget about the seemingly ‘bad’.

That’s what I did.

I moved on from January, the month my granny passed away. I’ve taken 6 flights since then, my suitcase being unpacked and repacked so many times. 

Really, I should have taken Granny’s passing with me.

It has made me stronger. 

It has taken 7 months for it to eventually hit me. I needed those seven months. But if I hadn’t gone back to pack grief into the suitcase, I would never be able to understand it.

I hope those metaphors don’t scare you away from my blog. I love using things like that though.

Whatever you carry into September, I hope it serves you well. Many good things will come to you in September, that you will be able to carry in your suitcase to October. Maybe your suitcase will expand in size, maybe it will shrink. Leave behind the things that don’t serve you. Just NEVER forget to pack in the mistakes and the hardships. You learn from them and they will make you stronger.

Grief isn’t negative.

It’s a natural part of being human and living in a mortal world.

Grief isn’t positive either.

Grief is beyond comprehension. It’s just so complicated. There’s no quick fix, and even if you could find one don’t use it. Let the wound heal naturally and give yourself time to recover. But if, like me, it takes seven months to deeply sink in, allow time for that too. 

I’ll love you and leave you. Wishing you all the best for September,

Catherine xxx

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Top 10 Blogging Goals For The Future | Finding Inspiration & Engaging With My Passions

I’ve had a burning desire to get back to the keyboard ever since I announced a ‘break’ last Sunday. Although a break would probably be beneficial for me, my mind is buzzing with ideas and I don’t want this motivation to be wasted. Today I woke up late, around 7:30am, with no spark in my step at all. Instead of yoga I wanted to crack straight on because I was already a little late. 

Head over to my Instagram for more cute cat photos like this one!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my cat. However while I was washing my face she decided to walk all over my white sheets with her wet, muddy paws. I returned from the bathroom to see my unmade bed soaked through with a guilty looking cat sat in the middle. She got the sign and decided to leave… sorry Pikachu. Then I washed my sheets and tidied my room a bit. You might say boring. But I have a feeling that if you’ve been reading my blog for this long then you might care about my pets.

Despite such an unplanned morning, my day was awesome. I love every second of it! I also had the idea to start a project… which is coming soon. This inspiration has grabbed hold of me and I don’t want to fight it. Passion is one of those complicated emotions that tires you and excites you all at once.

So, what is this post going to be? I hear you ask.

My list of goals for the future of my blog:

  1. Launch the project!
  2. Spend half an hour catching up on my reader every day.
  3. Follow 10 new blogs a month.
  4. Update my Instagram story consistently! 
  5. Post on Instagram to a schedule (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
  6. Get better at promoting my blog though Instagram.
  7. Reply to comments more efficiently.
  8. Enjoy the writing process.
  9. Copy and paste all of my blog posts into a huge Pages document so that when the Internet dies they’ll all be safe (I’ve started on this already)
  10. Write more book reviews

That’s all my blogging goals for now! Don’t want to have an immensely long list otherwise I’ll feel intimidated. 

What are your blogging goals? Are there any good blogging habits you have got into?

Loads of love,

erin x

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The Awesome Blogger Award | Books, Goals & Music

Though I wasn’t nominated, I’d just like to thank Marta for leaving open nominations so that I could take part in this tag. Please read her answers to these questions! Now, let’s get on to the tag:

The Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you
  • Credit the creator (Maggie @ Dreaming of Guatemala)
  • Tag this post with #AwesomeBloggerAward
  • Answer all the questions given to you
  • Nominate some people
  • Write 10 questions for them to answer

Marta’s Questions

What are some of your favourite songs to listen to at the moment?

Currently I’m enjoying Fine Line by Harry Styles and a little bit of The Beatles here and there.

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If you could shift into an animal, what animal would you want to turn into?

Some sort of bird, definitely. Wouldn’t it be really interesting to fly? 

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What is one thing you are currently obsessed with?

I love knitting and watching sit-coms! Not the most productive use of time in quarantine but it makes me so happy. I listed in a previous blog post what my favourite TV shows are. 

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If an unstoppable force collides with an immovable force, what happens?

Would it rebound? I’m not a physics whizz but I’d by interested to hear what happens in this instance. If you have any clue, please let me know in the comments!

What is your favourite book that you read in 2020 so far?

I don’t think there’s a singular book I could pinpoint as my favourite though The Spinster Club series is my favourite read. The first book in that series got me hooked, it’s called “Am I Normal Yet?”

What is the best piece of advice that you’ve received?

Very cliche, but live in the moment. I hold those words in my heart and try to make the most of my time on this Earth.

What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

Does it make me bratty to say that I’m not sure? My cello lessons are an amazing gift and I’m very fortunate that my parents could afford them when I started out. 

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If you could spend a day with anyone (fictional, alive, or dead), who would you choose and what would you do together?

I’d love to spend some time with the Doctor, she is such cool character and I could travel anywhere and be back in one split-second! The best use of a day in any case.

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What is your dream reading space?

There’s no need to dream; I already have mine. My bed is positioned an arm’s length away from my bookshelf so I don’t have to get up when I want to grab a book. A small room comes with advantages.

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What are your goals (reading or otherwise) for 2020?

My reading goal is 100 books but i’m a little behind on it! Hopefully, like last year, summer will be my time to get ahead. I set myself some goals in a post at the start of the year. At the moment my goals are to do yoga every day, and I’m on day 29! Try not to throw yourself in at the deep end, just set habits monthly and hopefully they’ll lead to you being a better person than at the start of the year.

I Nominate These Awesome Bloggers:

My Questions

Please answer Marta’s questions! It may seem like I’m just being lazy, but I’d be interested to hear your response to her questions. Don’t forget to let me know if you take part, by either tagging me in the post or commenting below.

What other posts do you want to see from me? Is there a particular type of post you most like to see from me? 

erin x

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Top 5 Easy Tips On How To Glow-Up/Get Out Of A Slump

Deciding to take a break wasn’t an impulse decision that happened overnight. In fact, the factors leading to my unexplained hiatus were brewing for a few months. I soldiered through my schedule, ticking boxes and the sort, until I realised that I probably need to step back and consider myself for a second. Because though I was promoting self-care and exercise, I wasn’t doing it for myself. It was very hard, at first, to begin my mini ‘glow-up’. Especially because beforehand my schedule revolved around school and being busy. When school closed and all my plans were cancelled, that’s when I found time on my hands. I didn’t spend my extra time productively and ended up binge-eating and watching a lot of TV. It was unhealthy but I caught myself before it got worse. I plucked myself out of my sad hole and said, ‘let’s take a break from social media, start working out, continue with my yoga and stop snacking’. The expectations of myself weren’t realistic, which meant sticking to them felt like I’d conquered heaven and earth. I’m still in the process of keeping to them, of course. Health is for life, not just for January. I’m not an expert but here are few tips for any of you that want to glow up:

1) Exercise

Workouts aren’t my cup of tea but I found an amazing YouTuber called Lucy who does 7 minute regimes that get your heart rate up but aren’t so hard that you collapse on the ground! I found it easy to slip it in to my mornings and it has had a profound impact on the rest of the day, making me feel like I can conquer my to-do list. You’ve heard me rant about yoga previously, and I also do that every morning. At the moment I can only go out for exercise once a day and it’s always a walk with my family. Though I only do a little bit, it has massively changed my life.

2) Waking Up At A Consistent Time

You don’t need to be a morning person to be productive. I always wake up at 6am but if you go to bed later than obviously you still have the same hours in the day (06.00-22.00 or 09.00-01.00). Go to bed at a consistent time and wake up at the same time too. Your body will get into a routine as long as you don’t skip a day (including weekends). I’ve not to a point where I can trust myself to wake up without an alarm but I’m sure you can.

3) No Snacking

It’s tricky, but it’s good for me. It means I can appreciate my meals more and I hardly ever feel bloated. I still have a tangerine mid-morning but I’ve cut out the late-night snacking thing that I really struggled with. 

4) Be Forgiving

I’ll have a packet or crisps every now and then. I’ll miss a workout or wake up later. The key is to not be hard on yourself. And the more forgiving you are, the easier it is to carry on again. I used to do workouts every day but then I’d miss one. Once I’d miss one, I’d think it was pointless then all of that effort has gone to waste. Please don’t do that to yourselves! 

5) To-Do Lists

It’s second nature for me to write a to-do list every day. I find them an effective way to keep on track of what you need to do. Especially with home-schooling, it’s important I’m getting my work done. Sometimes I might need to set my own work just to make sure I don’t fall behind! I keep my to-do lists in my bullet journal. As my bujo is a ‘pretty’ place, I feel a certain extent of pressure to tick off my lists just because it makes me spreads look complete. It’s a healthy pressure though and often means I get things done.

Those are all the five tips I have for you today. I am not perfect and I just want to make it clear that I don’t always keep to these tips. This blog is supposed to be as raw and truthful as possible. This sort of lifestyle is me at my peak, obviously why I’d like to share it with you. I don’t feel compelled to telling you about my unhealthy habits because that’s my past. I only want this to be a positive space, and I am living proof that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So if you are going through a rough time, please talk to me or someone that you trust. I am always here for those of you that need me. If you don’t want to share with me, just try to follow these few tips. They helped me out of a rut and I’m sure they’ll help you too. 

Do you have any glow-up tips? How do you get out of a slump? Could you share some motivation in the comments of this post, to help someone going through a rough time?

Can’t wait to hear from you,

erin x

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7 Places & Countries I’d Love To Visit

Inspired by my good blogging friend Arabella (Sparks Of Ara) I’ve decided to share with 7 places I’d love to visit! As much as I love travelling, I’ve hardly been outside of Europe. Today’s post is going to be a little insight into my life goals. I’m very fortunate to be able to dream about where I want to go in life. I have friends that don’t have the money to go on holiday so I do feel really privileged to have experienced the things I have. Sometimes I can get carried away by ‘dreams’ and ‘wants’. Like any ambitious teenager, once I’ve finished university I’d love to go around the world! It’s been on my bucket-list since I can remember. If you have been/live in anywhere I mention in the post then I would love to chat about it!

ALL OF THE PHOTOS IN THIS POST ARE NOT MY OWN

Norway

Arabella chose this one too, but I think that Norway is such a wonderful country. It would be great to see the Northern Lights and have a little biking trip around all of the cute villages. However it would be a pricey ordeal so I don’t know how long it will be until I get to this one!

Provence, France

I’ve visited France twice, but always in the North. I’d love to venture South into the lavender fields of Provence! It is a very picturesque landscape and everything looks so stripped back and tranquil. 

New Zealand

Imagine if I could visit every continent before I die (possibly excluding Antarctica)? If I was to visit Oceania it would be to see the sights of New Zealand. My dad has a friend over there so it would be possible to have accommodation free 😅 I’m not as intrigued by Australia but seeing a performance in the Opera house would be stunning!

Japan

Full of huge stationery shops, wonderful nature and the birth place of Pokèmon – I wonder why I don’t live there already? Recently there has been a surge of people on social media visiting Japan and I’d just like to hop on the bandwagon. It is also home to the world’s biggest stationary store. I could spend by days flicking through art paper and trying out pens!

Morocco

I can’t handle heat but I would love to visit Africa all the same. A few people I know have visited Morocco for a holiday. I wouldn’t go for the culture but more of a ‘kick back and relax’ sort of destination. 

Canada

Learning French does me a favour because a lot of the world speaks it, even in Canada. If I could only visit one city out of the whole country I would go to Quebec. Or Toronto. I suppose I’d have to look into it more! 

Rio De Janeiro 

The only continent I’ve missed off this list is South America! Rio is a really lively and interesting place. It’s a hotspot for tourists and full of culture. I’ll have to improve my Portuguese before I even think about going though! I don’t know a word in Portuguese (other than the ones in the Twilight novels 😂)

Do you have a travel bucket list? What is the favourite place you’ve visited (even if it’s in the same country that you live in)?

erin x

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