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2020: The Year The World Stood Still

2020 is definitely the year that stood still. Since lockdown begun, we have frozen all forward motion, as if stuck in a limbo of what ifs and buts. Nothing seems quite right, the natural order of things have been knocked off track and come to a stand still, we’re waiting at a red light before we can get moving again.

But when we move again, will things ever return to normal, or are we to establish a new equilibrium? One where social distancing is a part of our everyday lives and the fear of germs is overwhelming?

The UK’s Chief Medical Officer has advised that we may have to see social distancing in place until a vaccine is found as, although we have reached our artificial peak, we haven’t seen the full capabilities of the virus gone wild.

This being said, when we begin to move again, how long will it take to recover? How long before we will be able to return to the safety of our 9 to 5 jobs, our comfortable routines? Will we need to try again, try something different?

When we see the green light to go, will we be mentally prepared, or will we see hesitancy, people too afraid to jump right in, the fear of uncertainty and newness a strange and unwelcome sight?

I for one, am feeling rather lost. I plod through each day but rather with lack of enjoyment. I long for the days without stress and worry, for love and happiness to run amuck. I want to embrace my family and friends without caution, without prejudice. There’s a great deal of difference between my life before and now, including a 9 to 5 office job and financial security, and hectic socialising in between, but I’m getting surprisingly used to the empty days, much to my dismay.

There will be good days again, full of sunshine and laughter, when we are all safe to do so, we just have to wait and watch this black cloud blow over. Once the storm has passed, we’ll soon see what our new lives will hold.

As 2020 stands still for us, I ask the question: will life ever be the same again?


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Dealing with the stresses of lockdown – Part 2

Last time we looked at how the lockdown was putting a strain on everybody, especially those who are experiencing anxiety or depression for the first time.

As the lockdown continues and social distancing measures seem to be here to stay for the time being, it’s important to ensure we can make the most of it and combat feelings of depression and anxiety.

So how do we do that?

First of all, we need to accept how we’re feeling and then look at why. Are we anxious because we don’t know how we will survive financially? Are we depressed because we can’t see friends and family? Are we scared about the virus and how it could affect us?

All are valid reasons and reasons shared with a lot of people for being upset and afraid.

I personally, am terrified of contracting the virus as I have several life threatening illnesses including asthma and a nut allergy to name a few. Lets face it, my lungs were not cut out to handle a respiratory virus. However, I continue on, keep up with my workouts and my daily inhalers to build up my lungs so I am best equipped to deal with whatever happens.

As I said in my last article, it’s very easy to slip into the habits of getting out of bed much later than usual, staying in your pyjamas and binge watching TV until you feel like you’ve got square eyes. However, this is synonymous with behaviours of depression and during days outside of lockdown we would see this as worrying behaviour, so why is during lockdown any different?

Yes we can’t go outside and see friends and family but we can get into positive little habits that will make you feel better and after the lockdown you can brag that you got loads done during this time.

So where do we start?

In my last article I discussed my morning routine. I talked about how I leave Darren in bed to sleep while I get up, drink coffee and read a magazine or a book. This alone time gives my brain the much needed time to think outside of social media and physical noise. It’s a good way to set up the day.

Once I’ve woken up I look at things that need doing around the house and get cracking, cleaning what I can because, let’s be honest, we’ve all been a bit slobbish during the lockdown. Doing chores gives you a small bit of physical activity and once you’re done, gives you that clean space which will help clear your mind of horrible thoughts.

Once I’ve done my chores, I get changed into my active wear and get working out, squats, sit ups, anything to get my body moving and working out to exert some of that nervous energy I might be feeling.

Next I shower and pamper myself, taking my time which is something I couldn’t normally do outside lockdown as there was always too much to do.

After my shower I finish my pamper session with a full body moisturiser and straightening my hair so that I feel good about myself. I get dressed in my favourite clothes and finally sit down on the sofa.

I’ll browse social media for a while, working on the business, checking emails and such before I stop for lunch, something relatively healthy like a  cous cous salad or some soup.

After my late lunch, I finally rest, watching netflix with my partner, sometimes treating ourselves to a cheeky drink or two. It feels good to relax after such a busy day.

Obviously, I mix it up, workout at different times of the day, go for walks but I always like to be productive before I sit down and relax for the day. It lures my brain into thinking its had a busy day.

All this being said, I slipped up on this last week when I forgot to keep up with my routine. I stayed in bed  for 1 or 2 days until nearly midday, checking obsessively over the news to see whether lockdown was coming to an end soon. I neglected my exercise and my meals were sporadic. I was slipping into depression and if I wasn’t careful I’d end up miserable and bringing the rest of the household down with negativity.

So one morning I forced myself to get up and get coffee even though I really didn’t want to. I wanted to stay safe and warm under the covers, forgetting about the days ahead of us.

I sipped my coffee and contemplated the day and continued writing this article because its what I knew calmed me down.

My fingers felt heavy on the keyboard, hesitant almost, as if I had nothing to say, yet they kept on and before I knew it I had more than enough to say.

During this lockdown we have been told to look after our most vulnerable people but what if our most vulnerable people are those we can’t see clearly by facts and figures, what if those vulnerable people are those who struggle with worries and fears everyday? Surely if we can boost our own positivity we can improve our time in lockdown (and come out looking amazing due to all the workouts and self pampering sessions we’ve all had!)

What are your thoughts? How are you coping with lockdown? Let us know on Facebook, continue the conversation and share the things you do to make yourself feel good during lockdown.

Dealing with the stresses of lockdown- Part 1

As we enter week 5 of the UK lockdown, it’s clear to see that everyone is trying their best to follow the rules and stay home where possible.

There are less queues at the supermarket across the way from me, less people on the streets walking and an increase in people wearing homemade masks.

However important it is to stay home and stop the spread of the virus, it’s still affecting people incredibly. The rise in domestic violence is frightening, and its splayed all over Facebook where people are finding staying at home straining.

There are people like me, who lost their jobs when the epidemic started and applied for help and still have not received a penny. Then families staying in one property have an immense amount of strain placed on them as the contact is sheer overload, similarly, those home alone have no contact and are striving human contact. It’s this team of both financial worry and human contact which are causing a lot of people to suffer with mental health issues like anxiety and depression who maybe hadn’t experienced it before.

It’s these people who are plodding along but not knowing why they feel the way they feel. They’ll describe it as frustration or boredom but might have a cry when it gets too much.

It’s these people I want to address, these people I want to extend my heartfelt thoughts to. Yes, you’re struggling and you don’t have to compare yourself to others.

Too often I hear “well so and so have it much worse than me” as if offering yourself a sadness borderline where if you reach that line you’ll agree to be sad instead of accepting that you’re sad now.

It important to look at your own feelings, observe how this lockdown is affecting you and coming up with an action plan to make the most of it.

For instance, I’m a massive advocate for writing. By now you should know this if you’ve been following the blog. Most mornings since lockdown, I’ve had a certain routine. While my boyfriend sleeps, I browse the news in bed, not too much about Covid-19, mind you, but I try and find other stories as well, before I get up, make myself a coffee and read a magazine or a book.

It’s this quiet morning reflection and routine which calms me down, gives me time for me to reflect and truly think about what needs to be done during the rest of the day.

It’s easy to slip into a routine of getting out of bed late, staying in your pyjamas and binge watching yet another series on netflix but do you know what that sounds synonymous with? Depression. People with depression find it hard to get out of bed, find it hard to motivate themselves. And yes, it’s hard to break this routine once you have it but good god, breaking that habit is possibly the best thing you can do for your mental health.

In my next article I’ll discuss my routine for the day and how I break the depression cycle. Stay tuned for more or start a conversation on Facebook, I reply regularly and am happy to discuss anything about the points discussed in this article.

Adding Childlike Sparkle To Your Life ✨

It’s this time of year especially when we can get in touch with our inner child, where we don’t mind singing at the top of our lungs the wrong lyrics to a Christmas song, or get creative while we craft our decorations. And oh what fun we do have in these times. We forget the stresses of life and lose ourselves in the moment, free of cares or worries.

But why do we only get in touch with our inner child when we’re near Christmas? Surely everyone would be a lot happier if we lost ourselves in childish ambition once in a while.

Pablo Picasso once said that every child is an artist and it’s only adulthood which squashes this ambition. But does that mean that artists are just big kids who never lost that creativity? I hope so.

When 2020 rolls around we’ll not only be entering a new year but also a new decade. It feels positive but also like a new beginning. It becomes even more poignant to be able to reflect on the last ten years but also look forward to the next decade with a childlike ambition and sparkle in our eyes.

I propose that in this next decade we do more silly things just for fun. Sing more, dance more, tap into that creative mind to create something new and innovative because if we do this I believe we would all suffer less with stress and care less about what people think around us about jovial topics such as how what you’re wearing doesn’t aesthetically please someone else.

If you’re like me and you’re not around children a lot then it can be easy to lose touch with what it means to be childlike. It can be easy to become a very serious person, stressed, anxious with problems which to other people can seem insignificant and probably are to you as well, if you dig deep enough.

I toyed with the idea of teaching. I thought I could be an art teacher, watching young adults develop their skills and learn to love being creative. It’s still something that intrigues me but a part of me thinks that that boat may have sailed as I encroach my late twenties, the big 30 balloons waiting in the wings ready to announce that I’m no longer a spring chicken. However, no matter old I get, as long as I maintain a positive attitude with the odd childlike tendancies, I think I’ll always be young at heart.

What do you think about getting reconnected with our inner child? Is it a silly notion or something which could actually benefit our oh so serious society?

Until next time.

Battling Negative Emotions Over Christmas

There’s a lot to be said about negative emotions, how they aren’t productive, how feeling them won’t change facts. However, negative emotions can be a great way to reflect on our lives, even when we don’t feel like it.

When we’re talking about negative emotions in this article we’re focusing on feelings of deep sadness or a bubbling and/or festering aggression towards a person, or a circumstance.

When we’re upset or angry, we tend to spiral in the same way which is why some of us end up crying when we’re angry or shouting when we’re sad. It’s during these times we can seemingly only see the bad things in life or the negative in people. However, noticing this behaviour is possibly the best route to self improvement.

If we learn to notice patterns when we start feeling these negative emotions then we can learn what triggers us and once we know what triggers us we can then learn to deal with it. Triggers can include everything, from the way someone taps their fingers on a table, to opening your bank account and realising you had less money than you thought.

Triggers are often part of a larger story.

If someone’s tapping finger is frustrating you to no end then its probably going to stretch a bit deeper than the surface noise. This frustration could be because you might dislike the person doing the tapping. Although, this sounds like a catch 22 as without delving deeper into your own psychosis, the cycle of finger tapping/ disliking anything this person does will continue on and on until the inevitable snap.

A better route would be to assess why this person is frustrating you. Is there a deeper reason within yourself which is causing this emotion?

The honest truth of it all is that nobody likes to take the blame for anything and without training your brain, this is no different in circumstances where it is you Vs you. For example, in the previous scenario, disliking a person could be a projection of parts of yourself you aren’t keen on.

Bob, your finger tapping work colleague, chats a lot about his terrible mother in law at work, and everything that creeps out of his seedy little mouth is negative. It’s his down trodden behaviour which puts you down in the dumps and makes the little things he does do annoy you.

However, as soon as you leave the office, you’ll be chatting your partner’s ear off about the terrible day you’ve had and suddenly you’re just as bad as Bob.

Hands up, I’ve done this many a time before and in the words of Karl Pilkington, sometimes we do need a good moan to make ourselves feel better. Yet there is a line, and it’s important to notice when we’ve crossed it in order to improve ourselves.

This Christmas time, a lot of people are feeling down in the dumps or frustrated.

It’s this time of year which is so important for us to look after our mental health and the mental health of those around us. By paying more attention to the attitudes of those around us and to our own behavioural traits, we can hope to better not only our own lives but the lives of friends who need positive mental encouragement.

Let’s start a conversation. Join me on Facebook @theroamblogger as we discuss the best ways to keep a positive mental attitude this Christmas time.

Until next time.

DIY Christmas Decor

As its now November, its officially festive season and you know what that means? A whole host of topical posts meant to make your shopping experience this season as quick and as cost effective as possible, so you have time to focus on the important stuff.

This week I want to share some arts and crafts Christmas decor which will not only add some festivities to your home but also can be made into projects you can make with your little ones for that added charm.

Festive Mason Jars ££

Christmas Luminaries DIY | How to by Debbie of My Patch of Blue Sky using Modern Masters Metallic Paints

For these all you will need are:

Mason Jars (You can grab these from the Range, Wilko or Hobby craft for under £10)

Adhesive patterns (You can make these using thin card, printed out stencils and double sided tape)

Glass paint (Acrylic paint will paint on glass)

Tealights (Under £4 on Amazon)

Ribbon & other added extras of your choice

Create your patterns, apply the double sided tape carefully to the card, and attach them to the glass, paint the rest of the jar and wait for the paint to dry before peeling off the pattern. Decorate further as you see fit.

The above idea if kept simple would suit many minimalist or scandinavian styled rooms, making the decor less outlandish and more ‘room friendly’. For a more bohemian look, why not try using string/rope around the top and filling the jar with pine cones/other natural found items.

Cute Homemade Wreath £

Christmas DIY Crafts for kids! #christmascrafts #craftsforkids #diycrafts #christmascraftsforkids

Definitely a design for inside decor, this wreath idea is simple and can be made with any colour so can be adapted to suit your little one’s bedroom.

Using a paper plate, cut out the centre, leaving a ring for you to wrap the strips of thin craft card around. These can be glued together or can be stuck together using double sided tape.

Using a fan fold, create the candle and attach using either glue or double sided tape.

Using your creativity, add decorations to the rest of the wreath, small felt circles could be used to make baubles and a bow tie ribbon can be added to the front for the final touch.

Star Garland £

DIY Star Garland Christmas crafts - Girl about townhouse

This is a funky DIY idea which involves folding paper into the shape of stars and adding them to a string. This natural looking design is fabulously bohemian and is perfect for the ‘adult’ Christmas.

For more ideas like these, why not visit my RoamBlogger Pinterest board. They’re full of Christmas ideas fun for the whole family.

Until next time.

Benefits Of PMA And How They Can Help To Grow Your Business

Being surrounded by positive mental attitudes (PMA) or simply people who inspire you can help massively with your personal ‘get up and go’. Similarly, the opposite attitudes can have detrimental effects.

Even the most positive people can be impacted by negative attitudes around them, in fact, research shows that it can impact us in such a way that it can reduce our immune system which is why when we feel more down, we are more likely to catch a cold, or get sick.

Positive attitudes also impact our wellbeing. Studies show that people who experience more positive emotions are more likely to maintain warm and lasting relationships.

Yesterday I was in discussions with a fellow entrepreneur, Andrew Campbell, who is the owner and founder of a carpet cleaning company ATR Carpet Cleaning. During our discussions I realised that I needed more people in my life like Andy as he has been a massive encouragement in my career development and has made me believe in my dreams to grow my own business doing something I love.

So I’ve decided I want to grow this community, and in the last week I have reached my personal goal of 100 follows on Facebook and can now look to reaching another milestone with active social media and networking plans.

Obviously, I want as many people to know The RoamBlogger as I can.

The more people who know that The RoamBlogger is a wall mural and canvas art business with staff who have classical technical art training with degrees and projects under their belts, the more people who might feel inclined to ask for a quote, and the more people who offer The RoamBlogger jobs, the more we can progress and the more I can offer you wonderful readers.

For instance, if you didn’t know, my canvas art is commission based, meaning that if you want something specific and original designed for your home or your workplace, we can complete this for you.

You can see examples of The RoamBlogger’s previous work here and for the month of November, if you quote TOOEARLYFORXMAS we can knock 10% off your order.

I really hope we can build this community into a positive and welcoming environment so we can all share in the motivational outbursts like the one I’ve had this week.

Until next time.

Starting A Business? 😅

Last week, if you’re a regular reader of the blog, you’ll know I finished the Alice In Wonderland inspired wall mural in time for The Mad Catter’s launch party which was a fantastic and interesting project which has seemingly launched my own business into action.

Seeing a friend succeed in business has been enough motivation for me to kick into action and has caused me to set up RoamBlogger as a business which has been so fulfilling it is almost unreal. (Except the daunting task of filling in a tax return, that’s not so wonderful).

I have the potential for a few ongoing projects lined up for not only the cafe, but for a doctors surgery of all places and I just hope to continue in this upward momentum for the foreseeable future as I would love nothing more than to class myself as a career woman with a successful business behind me.

If I have any advice for those also following in my footsteps and starting their own business, I would advise you to get as much sleep as you can in now as once you start working and the workload increases steadily you’ll find your days will start to become longer and longer.

But oh my gosh is it a fulfilling level of stress.

I hope to continue posting regular updates on the blog so you, dear reader, can follow along with the ins and outs of business growth from the complete bottom rung, to, well, the sky is the limit. Obviously my posts will still maintain to be lifestyle oriented, so I will continue to post fashion and interior design posts, however I’ll be tweaking these to also include the business side of things, to add more depth to my content.

What do you think about starting a business? What would you go into? What passion would you turn into a career? Let me know.

Until next time.

Interior Design | Cat Cafe Alice In Wonderland Wall Mural

Sorry it’s been a while, I know I haven’t posted anything for a few weeks but to summarise: its been hectic.

The past few weeks I have been planning and executing an interior design project for Eastbourne’s very first Vintage Cat Cafe, The Mad Catter. The idea for the client Lucy Allen was to create an Alice in Wonderland inspired wall mural.

My initial inspiration was the basement. As it has a low ceiling and cosy feel, I felt as if a magical forest scene would work wonders in the space. I bought a few tester paint pots after sketching out the idea on the freshly plastered wall and came to the conclusion that the style that would most compliment my talent would be a 2D cartoon, Disney-esque mural.

I have a degree in Animation which means I have classical technical drawing training, and my artwork projects have often involved a lot of colour and contrast which meant this project was leading up to be something incredibly rewarding.

However, the biggest obstacle I had to face during this project was the free roaming cats which I constantly had to keep an eye on because I had visions of little paws covered in paint, tracking prints everywhere. To get past this, Darren and I managed to shut the majority of the 10 cats in the upstairs section of the cafe, simply while we painted, before letting them downstairs again upon departure. Cats don’t like to be excluded though so our painting was accompanied by a chorus of cat meows.

The whole project turned out better than I expected, with the bright blue and red being a pop of colour in the otherwise neutral coloured basement so overall I consider this project to be a massive success.

From our time spent as quirky interior designers, Darren and I would love to continue with this so if you have a project you would like doing: a wall mural, a quirky piece of artwork for your business, please get in touch with us at roamblogger@gmail.com.

Until next time.

Cheers!

Body Dysmorphia & How To Dress For Your Shape

Sometimes when we look in the mirror we see something we don’t like. We see bodies which don’t fit into our personal expectation of beauty and it’s this view of ourselves which causes us to project into our lives, i.e I didn’t get that job because I wasn’t as pretty as the other people there, or I’m single because I’m not thin enough. This is obviously not going to give us the best outlook on life and is definitely going to start impacting our day to day moods.

I’ve seen it across the board. My work colleague wants to get a boob job, a friend who over exercises is forever thinking she’s not doing enough, another who has tried a personal trainer and a meal plan and is still unhappy with the way she looks. It’s something I researched and read about extensively while writing my dissertation on body dysmorphia and frankly it hurts my heart to know people are struggling in their lives because of their personal interpretation of their body.

Obviously, society has a lot to answer for setting our expectations so high and fashion has a lot to do in order to resolve the issue of body confidence, however, for the time being we can do something to combat these stresses: we can dress well for our shape and size as in turn, when we feel comfortable and happy, we feel more body confident.

I have my ups and down days when it comes to my body but overall, I am happy with my shape. Yes I could tone this and that but in all honesty, it doesn’t bother me that much.

I previously wrote about dressing for your body shape which you can read here.

I understand that fashion is not kind to some body shapes. High waisted trousers are not to everyone’s liking and peplum tops really don’t flatter everyone’s shape like they’re supposed to. Personally, the best advice I can give is to break out of the mould. Just because celebrities are wearing a style doesnt mean you need to jump on the bad wagon, however, it is important to try on as many different styles as possible, even pursuing with a few with small changes (like my pursuit to find a bodysuit which fits- and now I have two- thanks PLT), in order to discover what suits us the most and what we feel comfortable in.

I can’t drive it home enough that good fitting clothes will make you feel better about your body, at least until the world catches up and embraces the female form in all its lump and bumpy glory.

Until next time.