Being the Tazmanian Devil-esque whirlwind of chaos that I am and with the incessant rolling list of To Do’s inside my brain, I recently took the decision to consciously make the effort to create down-time.
Currently that takes the form of switching my phone to silent, leaving it out of reach and enjoying a good drama on the TV, and using my commute to either have a cheeky train nap or read a book. I’ve also started making the effort to read blogs more.
When I was having my ‘wobble’ and stepped back from the blogging world, it wasn’t just from the perspective of creating content, but also engaging and reading other people’s blogs. I read what close friends of mine had written if they sent me the links, but other than that, I was resolutely offline and disengaged when it came to digital content.
I think, in a way, this was simply because my brain felt full to the brim and there was no room for anything additional to squeeze in there. Partly that and partly the feeling of guilt as I criticised myself for the fact I was no longer writing anything. We are our own worst enemies sometimes.
However, in recent weeks, as I’ve fallen back in love with blogging myself, I’ve been reading more and more, expanding my horizons and discovering new writers whose work I am loving.
For me, the niche I will always lean towards is lifestyle. Maybe it’s nosiness but I find people as a whole fascinating and I love reading about where they’ve been, what they’ve been doing, who they’ve been doing it with, and what goes on inside their minds. Their thoughts, dreams and experiences. I find people fascinating.
Having rediscovered my love for reading blogs again, I thought it seemed only right that I share that love and each month (hopefully) tell you about the blogs I’ve been loving or particular posts I’ve read that I’ve enjoyed, whether that be for the fun element, interest, or because they’ve touched me in some way.
So, this is the first one of those posts – my favourite posts of November…
Grace – It’s A Holiday, Not A Project!
First of all I’ve got to tell you, I bloody love Grace. She is an excellent all-round human being and I feel incredibly lucky that I get to call her a friend. Now that’s out the way, this post is one that I think will ring true with a lot of people. For the past few weeks Grace has been out in Australia, visiting various areas and having lots of fun, but she began to feel pressure that she wasn’t doing enough. For me, this definitely hit home, as so often I feel like I’m not living an Instagram-worthy lifestyle and that I should be perfectly dressed more often, sinking bottomless brunches and making avocado on toast that looks nice rather than like it’s been dropped from a great height onto a plate. But there’s a well-known saying that applies here: Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to have a life (Dolly Parton has said so many deeply perceptive things, I don’t think she gets enough credit for just how wise she is). It is so easy for us to look around and feel like others are doing better, progressing further, succeeding more… but does it really matter what everyone else is doing? It’s so important to keep your eyes on your own path, to work hard, love strongly and be kind, but to also be accepting and grateful for the life you have to and to see the good that is in it. If we spend too much time looking to the horizon for what is to come, we’ll miss those things that are laying directly at our feet.
Karen – What I Believe At 53
I first stumbled across Karen on Snapchat, I’m not entirely sure how, and from the very beginning she became someone that I’ve loved to “be around” (as much as you can be around someone via social media). She has an infectiously happy, bubbly personality and is so full of life and love, you can’t help but feel better simply for having her around. Unbelievably (she has the best genes ever!) she turned 53 recently and she wrote a post about all the lessons she has gathered along her journey in this life. As always, it was heart-warming and soul-affirming and I felt myself nodding along as I read it.
Jemma – The Thing I Hate Most About The Blogging/Influencer Biz
I read this post whilst laying in bed and found myself instantly wanting to seek Jemma down and high five her amazingly artistically talented hands (she has a brilliant Etsy shop). In the years since I started blogging, it has changed massively. What was a hobby back then is now a career for some people, and there’s fierce competition out there to be the next big thing, getting a post to go viral, hitting the next big milestone on your follower count, or collaborating with a big brand. But, with that success that some have experienced has followed an expectation for them to be something more – a spokesperson for society, an ambassador for what should be said and thought about the latest hot topics in the news, and, when these people haven’t stood up to be counted and give their thoughts, they’ve been slated for it. “Why isn’t so-and-so speaking out about this?” “Why are their burying their head in the sand?” “How come they’re tweeting about the latest trend but not this issue?” But, as Jemma quite rightly said, should they have to? Just because you are in the public eye and have a good following, do you have to speak up and speak out about everything? Jemma says this all so perfectly in this post, you have got to read it!
Dawn – Ever Thought Of Calling When You’ve Had A Few?
As someone who has been partial to a bit of a Social Media Stalk in the past but, on the flip side, also lets go of all connections to the past with ease, I found this post really interesting. When we end a relationship with someone – whether romantic, as a friend, or as family – is there a need to secretly look them up online to see what they’re doing, or do we cut ourselves free, wish them well (or not) and get on with our lives? I think it all depends very much on the person involved, but, for me, I don’t think there’s anything to be gained from looking backwards or keeping a thread of connection to those who aren’t in your life anymore. If somebody is in your past, there’s a reason for it.
Ashleigh – Why Is Honey Not Vegan?
I’ve done more and more reading recently about veganism. Whilst I’m not in a position where I feel I’m going to take the plunge and go vegan myself, I am living as ethically as I can currently and I’m always reading up on how I can improve and leave less of a footprint on the world. When I saw Ashleigh say on her Instastory that she had written a post about why honey isn’t vegan I clicked the link straight away as this is a question I’ve always had but didn’t want to ask any of my vegan friends in case it seemed rude. The great thing about Ashleigh is that she is so knowledgeable and has a way of explaining things so that they make sense, without ever seeming patronising. Nor does she ever shake her head and tell me I’m a bad person because I still consume meat in my diet. She educates and advises and then leaves people to make their own decisions, and that’s something I have a lot of respect for.
So those are my favourite posts from November! I’m going to try and do this every month from now on – share the love and, maybe, introduce some of you to blogs you hadn’t stumbled across before.
I’m always looking for new blogs to read so if you know of any awesome lifestyle focussed ones out there that you think I need to get involved with, leave me the details in the comments below, or drop me a tweet (@apenny_for_them).