2017

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve tried to write about this past year. The thing is, I have a lot of feelings about the past 365 days, but when it comes to actually putting pen to paper (no really, I like handwriting posts first) I’m suddenly lost for all words aside from “This has been the worst year so far.”

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Except it hasn’t. Worst is unfair. Worst implies bad things have happened when, truly, a lot of very good things have happened. So, as much as my brain wants be to use the word ‘worst’, I think I’ll stick with ‘hardest’ instead.  Because 2017 has been one rather big, rather incomprehensible whirlwind of change and emotions and enough tears to fill enough Lush-fuelled bubble baths.

It’s not been all bad. In fact, a lot of good things have happened. I left a job. I moved to London, away from all of my friends and family, and managed to survive the process. I visited the south of France and Rome and Paris and did multiple trips to various locations around the UK. I started a new job. Worked on a brilliant event. Met so many fantastic new people. And finally, after almost three years of short-term contracts, got offered and started what I’m sure 15-year-old me would have deemed a ‘dream job’.

And yet I can’t process it. It’s as though I’m watching someone else’s life. As much as I’m very very aware of everything I’ve done, I can’t quite bring myself to feel it. Either that or I’m feeling too much of something I can’t quite put my finger on, and it all becomes really quite overwhelming. There’s rarely any in between and, and points, it's felt like I've lost entire months of my year from not being 100% ok and effectively shutting down. I still don't really know how to refer to it, but let's just say that the whole month of June is one big blur. 

I’d like to say I’m ending the year with some kind of closure, some kind of answer to how I’ve been feeling. I used to hate writing things that didn’t have an ending – but I suppose not everything needs an ending and maybe it’s not each post, but the entire blog that’s the story. So, for now, I’m ending the year wearing my comfiest loungewear, watching Black Mirror and with the plan to just take each day as it comes. 

Home

HOME

noun

1. a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of aperson, family, or household.

2. the place in which one's domestic affections are centered.

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I got ill this week. What started off with a scratchy throat on Sunday evening turned into a full blown coughing, sneezing, watery-eyed cold by the Tuesday, which left me feeling very sorry for myself with no one to look after me and had me questioning why I ever moved out in the first place. Yes I was sick but, even worse, I was homesick.

It wasn't just the cold - there were definitely other seemingly insignificant things that led to my homesickness. I've started hesitantly filling in my new address in online forms, I received my first proper piece of post through the door last week and, in a conversation with my Dad at the weekend, it was pointed out that I now refer to London as home. The latter was quickly rebuffed with a half joking "yes but I refer to anywhere with a bed as home."

Half joking because I do. When I board the train a couple of Fridays a month and head back to Bournemouth for the weekend, I say I'm going home. And when I get back on said train (sometimes on a Sunday evening cut short, sometimes on a painfully early Monday morning) I also say I'm going home. I call my Mum's house home and my Dad's house home and the house I've only lived in for two months and share with four other people I don't really know? That gets called home too. 

My (now permanent thank god, but more on that later) job is here, in London. A lot of my possessions are here, in London. And I spend approximately 528 hours a month (yes I did some maths) here, in London. But you see, it doesn't feel like my life it here. Not yet. Not when all of the people I love, the ones who feel like home, are all a two-hour train ride away. Which yes, could be worse. In the grand scheme of the big wide world, two hours is miniscule. Yet it doesn't feel that way when you're friends are arranging trips to the cinema via WhatsApp, and you're desperately missing the long gone Monday evening gym class with your Mum and you could really really just do with meeting up with your best friend for dinner after work. If we're doing clichés – which I'd rather not but I seem to have walked straight into one – I suppose home really is where the heart is. Or at least where the plans made via WhatsApp are happening. 

In lieu of all the bits I'm missing, I've tried to make this home here in London feel as 'home home' as possible. I've filled my bedroom with prints and more plants than I really know how to take care of, and I've got pretty good at keeping it tidy too. 

On the free weekends I do have, I'm trying to get to know London a little better. Or at least well enough to not have to open up Google Maps every time I leave the house. Last Sunday morning I took myself on a walk to Putney. Yes, I may have followed the blue dot to get myself there, but on the way back I made do without and walked back through the park and, on my walk home, I felt incredibly fortunate to live in such a lovely area. In between the there and the back, I found myself in a Waterstones café* with a cup of tea and some raspberry and coconut cake and I felt incredibly content and it almost maybe felt a little bit like home.

 

*I googled 'café' to check the correct accent direction, and it immediately offered me a selection of cafés in the Bournemouth area and, of course, I promptly burst into tears. Even my laptop doesn't know where home is. 

Things from Paris

Almost two months ago I went to Paris. Here are some photos. 

Sacré-Cœur

Sacré-Cœur

Sacré-Cœur

Sacré-Cœur

Gardens of Versailles 

Gardens of Versailles 

Gardens of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Château de Versailles

Château de Versailles

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The View From The Afternoon (Galeries Lafayette)

The View From The Afternoon (Galeries Lafayette)

Disposable: Summer

Earlier this year I re-discovered my love for disposable cameras and then proceeded to spend far too much money on getting the photos developed. So here's July – September from a few overpriced fujifilms. 

1st July - Compton Acres, Poole

1st July - Compton Acres, Poole

1st July - Compton Acres, Poole

1st July - Compton Acres, Poole

1st July - Compton Acres, Poole

1st July - Compton Acres, Poole

1st July - Sandbanks Poole

1st July - Sandbanks Poole

1st July - Sandbanks, Poole

1st July - Sandbanks, Poole

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

8th July - Kew Gardens

26th August - Moors Valley

26th August - Moors Valley

26th August - Moors Valley

26th August - Moors Valley

2nd September - Sacré-Cœur, Paris

2nd September - Sacré-Cœur, Paris

2nd September - Sacré-Cœur, Paris

2nd September - Sacré-Cœur, Paris

2nd September - Sacré-Cœur, Paris

2nd September - Sacré-Cœur, Paris

3rd September - Versailles, Paris

3rd September - Versailles, Paris

3rd September - Paris

3rd September - Paris

4th September - Arc De Triomphe, Paris 

4th September - Arc De Triomphe, Paris 

4th September - Eiffel Tower, Paris

4th September - Eiffel Tower, Paris

4th September - Eiffel Tower, Paris

4th September - Eiffel Tower, Paris

4th September - Eiffel Tower, Paris

4th September - Eiffel Tower, Paris

5th September - Paris

5th September - Paris

Progress

progress

noun

forward or onward movement toward a destination.

I watched three episodes of Peep Show this afternoon. This past month I've read two books. I've only cried once this week.

Almost two months ago, I sat in the waiting room for my last CBT session. My therapist was late (as per) and I was thinking a lot about how it was definitely my last session out of circumstance rather than by choice. But it was my last session nonetheless. I'd done five months (admittedly on and off) of therapy, and I didn't feel how I wanted to feel. Or maybe, how I thought I was supposed to feel.

I wanted a cure. I was also hoping that by trying to deal with my anxiety, that it would then have a domino effect on the depression. It didn’t. And so I was frustrated and angry and felt as though I’d failed.

But then last week I found myself seven seasons deep into Peep Show – which I know sounds incredibly inconsequential, so just bear with me.

Four, actually maybe even two, months ago I couldn’t concentrate. On anything. As someone who thrives on their alone time, I was at a total loss. I couldn’t read a book, I couldn’t watch a film and there was no way I could keep up with a new TV show. Broadchurch bypassed me, I was two seasons behind on Made in Chelsea, and I hadn’t made use of my Netflix subscription in weeks. I would rather lie in bed, totally consumed by my own thoughts, because I was unable to bring myself to do anything but.

So the sudden ability to just sit down and enjoy – and I use the term enjoy loosely here, because is enjoy really the word for Peep Show – a few episodes seemed miraculous to me.

I’ve started reading again too. Back in April I finished my first book in months and, as soon as I put it down, I burst into tears. Since then, I’ve finished five. Five whole books. Something that seemed incomprehensible a few months ago.

And of course progress isn’t linear. There are mornings when I wake up and know that the rest of the day will be a struggle. That I’ll have to take the day an hour at a time, and fight back tears on the tube, and count down the hours until I can go back to bed. But there are also mornings when I wake up and think about what I might get for breakfast on my way to work, and read my book on the tube, and don’t feel the need to get straight into bed come 7pm.

So I’m clinging on to these little things. Because it may not be linear, but maybe progress is finishing a book and wanting to pick up another, and going six out of seven days without crying, and sleeping through the whole night.

And maybe I need to be ok with that.