Monday, December 31, 2018

2018: Best Nine?

Pictured:
The #HinchArmy revolution, my favourite outfit from our Egypt holiday, 
feeling sexy in my Valentines Night outfit, a throwback to graduation, smug as owt enjoying haloumi fries, pouts and smiles with the love of my life, enjoying swishy hair and a b&w filter, standing in a field posing for no reason other than Instagram x2

Not pictured:
A shitty job, two new jobs, an un-conference, a divorce, swimming in Egypt, enjoying the Christmas markets in Berlin, shit mental health days, arguments and laughter, so much more.

How the hell are we at the end of the year already? I'm very aware I'm simply parroting what everyone else says at this time of year - but I'm really feeling it! Where has the time gone? Social media is flooded with Top Nines and a mixed bag of reflections as people share the highs and lows of 2018 for them. For me, 2018 was definitely a rollercoaster.

I'm not a big fan of rollercoasters.

I saw the New Year in with my boyfriend and our friends, followed by the drive home, a few hours sleep and a shift in hell the health and beauty store where I was working. I hated working there. The job itself, an advisor for a cosmetic brand, wasn't too bad, but retail hours and shitty management destroyed my optimism and excitement within a few weeks of my starting in September 2017. Our trip to Yorkshire at the end of January couldn't come quick enough: spending time with my parents and introducing Greg to new places in my home county was magical, especially when it snowed!

February took us down to London for Valentine's Day. I actually felt sexy (I know!) in my bodysuit, jeans and converse and we drank, sang and danced through The Chainsmokers' Ally Pally gig. We managed to see a good chunk of Central London in one day, found (and devoured) Instagram-worthy donuts and spent time with family. We discovered Uber, conquered the tube and took photos a-plenty. The photos continued into March in Riga, Latvia - our next trip. Slightly less sexy attire in the form of thermals, walking boots and knitted headgear was essential and if we had a euro for every time we'd commented on the temperatures we'd have become millionaires by the end of our short stay. On our last night, I wailed (literally) at the thought of returning to work and decided there and then that I had to leave. I handed my notice in on my first day back.

Cue: frantic job search. I jest - it wasn't quite that dramatic. I'd done my research: I knew where I wanted to go, I just had to take myself there. Manifestation and a LinkedIn message led to a phone call, which led to three months work doing exactly what I wanted to do (next). On the weekend between jobs, at the end of April, I attended Superlatively Rude Live - an un-conference for open hearts, curious minds, and a f*cking good time - hosted by the fabulous Laura Jane Williams. I put on my big girl knickers, my smart coat and my high heels and took the coach (I was between jobs and not about to spend London-train-fare-money!) down for a day of learning and networking. I'm so glad I did. Imagine a room full of friendly, fiery, fabulous women all rooting for each other having never met. Performed poetry, a lesson in confidence and an education on our menstrual cycles were just some of the incredible things that happened in that room. What a day!

Greg completed a half-marathon (I was so proud!) and the summer, May, June, Julyabsolutely flew by as I became joined at the hip with my new boss-stroke-mentor who showed me the ropes of... customer experience, research, analysis, client-side-stuff... all sorts, really! I absolutely landed on my feet with the husband-and-wife duo who took my hands and pulled me headfirst into their world of work and contacts and I will be forever appreciative that they came into my life in 2018. Onto the next job, another three month contract, this time with a much. bigger. fish. working in a much. bigger. pond. I just gulped, again. My god, looking back I don't know how the hell I actually went for it but I am so damn proud of myself for not swatting back my nerves and lack of confidence. Head down, hard work, trying (and often failing) to remember to smile rather than look permanently poker-faced (which, the sister to resting bitch face, is the resting expression I portray whenever I'm shit scared or concentrating). Working from home, travelling to London, wrestling with new skills and vocabulary and train times and different offices, and new names and faces and, actually, really enjoying every second.

And then my parents split up.

My dad came to visit at the end of August. I didn't believe him at first, and I certainly hadn't seen it coming. The second he drove away and I shut the front door, my legs gave way and I sobbed, and sobbed, like I've never sobbed before. I felt as though the world had caved in and I was completely - physically and emotionally - floored.

I carried on working, using my visits to the London office as a necessary, heady distraction. I celebrated my birthday, although I can't even remember from the top of my head what we did... (I've just checked my camera roll: Greg decorated the house with banners and pink "it's a girl" balloons - he hadn't noticed until he inflated them LOL - and I received wonderful cards and presents from friends and family. I also got my hair did, yay). We made it through to the end of September and took off on our long-awaited summer holiday: Egypt. Ten days of very limited wifi, very unlimited food and drink and very excessive heat. I am so grateful for that holiday. It felt like a lifeline. (of course, the bit you didn't see on social media was the Egyptian Belly that struck us both, which floored me again. The journey home was up there as one of the worst times of my life: I was a wreck. But, totes amazing holiday - would totes recommend!). Oh - I saw dolphins, in the wild - time to find a new dream.

Back to work, then up to Leeds in October to see my mum and have a catch-up with my dad, who had moved out by this point, to stay with a friend. And then he told me he had met and moved in with someone else. (Life sucks sometimes, and it can be hard to understand why people do and say the things they do. We are still communicating, learning and loving and will continue on this path into the New Year).

Work, work, work - November and December felt like another few whirlwind. I was doing really well, my contracted was extended and I was getting used to the travelling to, from and around London. A short break to Berlin before Christmas was another welcome relief from reality and work socials provided enough G&Ts and laughter to see me through to Christmas. Christmas loomed ahead like our newly-acquired 7-foot tree, with the potential to be beautiful, or a complete mess. Fortunately, it was the former (both the tree and the festive season). We spent Christmas with my mum, the sausage dogs (hers) and the cat (ours) who, miraculously, lived harmoniously apart - the dogs being blissfully unaware of Mitsy's presence in the basement, where she stayed with us.

All in all, I'm happy to be saying goodbye to 2018. I feel a bit churned up thinking about the past year: the stuff I've learned, the way I've grown... my heart has swelled with pride and shattered with pain. I am so bloody proud of myself. Bending, not breaking, is something I am getting pretty good at.

Whatever the past year has held for you, I hope you will feel my very best wishes for you. We made it, and every new day gives the opportunity to start anew, change direction, grow a little more.

Happy New Year x
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Sunday, October 21, 2018

#HinchArmy - a cleaning revolution

A small selection of my #HinchHaul - key items featured in cleaning sensation's Sophie Hinchliffe's Instagram stories.

“All the best, Hinchers, all the best…” I find myself saying in a hyperbolic Essex accent as I pour the contents of my kettle into the sink where Bryan and Pinkeh lie waiting patiently, having been doused in Zoflora (scent-of-the moment; Cranberry and Orange). “Give ‘em a baaaath, put the sink to bed.” I’ve succumbed to boomeranging the cascade, adding the necessary hashtags and uploading the scene to my Instagram story. If you’d told me a few weeks ago that I would be spritzing my worktops with scented disinfectant on a daily basis and taking regular trips to B&M, Wilkos and Poundland in the hunt for cleaning products to add to the overflowing stash that I’ve stored away in multiple Narnias throughout the house… I’d have chortled. While my Virgo soul desires organisation above anything else in life, cleaning has never been my strong point. That is, until I became well and truly Hinched.

I’m (un)officially a Hincher and an unashamed member of the Hinch Army which now stands at one million strong in the form of Instagram users who tune in to watch a 28-year-old woman from Essex pine her toilets, karate-chop her cushions and rave about her beloved Minkeh. They’re a force to be reckoned with, having sold the UK out of Minky M Cloths multiple times over and hashtagging #hincharmy over thirty thousand times on Instagram. Hinch Army membership skyrocketed after Mrs Hinch appeared on ITV’s This Morning one month ago, with her following growing from 397,000 before the show to the 412,000 by the end of the six-minute segment. Over the following weeks, word steadily spread, cleaning aisles became increasingly visited and brands have scrambled to ride the unstoppable consumer wave of Hinchers (and their long-suffering partners) across the UK. The Hinch love has gone global too, with #hinchhauls not only pouring in from Great Britain but from Canada, Australia and the U.S.

Sophie Hinchliffe started her Instagram account, @mrshinchhome_x_, as a place to share her love for home interiors without spamming friends and family with images of her furniture and home décor on her personal account. A quick scroll through and you’d been forgiven for turning Kermit-green with envy at the beautiful and meticulously thought-out detail in every room. Jealousy will turn to awe, mild obsession or, in the least, sheer curiosity as her stories suck you in and convince even the most cynical of minds that your sink really does need to be given the Minky, Buddy, Paul and Cliff treatment…on a daily basis.


What is it about Mrs Hinch that has caused such a storm? Aside from the infectious laugh and interior goals, Sophie’s positivity has transformed the lives of many women who follow her. Women who have struggled with anxiety, depression and other mental and physical illnesses have messaged the lady herself, explaining how her Instagram stories have inspired and empowered them to tackle what previously felt like overwhelmingly daunting everyday tasks around the home. The cleaning sensation has opened up about her own struggles with anxiety and panic attacks and regularly gives messages of encouragement to her followers who have turned to “hinching” to help with their own mental health struggles. Sophie’s love for the HinchArmy is tangible, shown through the time she takes responding to comments, messages and photos shared by her followers alongside the occasional live stream where her humility and genuine appreciation shines through.

Twenty-fours after the million-milestone, the only difference on Mrs Hinch’s account is the blue tick of verification. She’s back on her stories: cleaning with Minkeh, sharing her latest eBay finds and gushing over Henry, her beloved cocker spaniel. While I can’t wait to see what’s next for the cleaning Queen, I hope that some things never change.
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Saturday, May 05, 2018

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY BODY


I have a post sitting in my drafts titled "My Struggle With Body Confidence" but the sun is shining and I'm feeling pretty good today so I thought I'd stick up something more positive instead. I had a midnight visit from Inspiration a couple of nights ago and typed this out in my notes on my phone and, with a bit of tweaking here and there, thought I'd share it in a blog post in the hope of providing some inspiration to anyone else who struggles with loving their body at times.

I love my legs. I have two strong, working legs that can hold me up all day and bear the weight of 30 day squat challenges... They are often bruised, they aren't the smoothest and my knees are always covered in peach fuzz even after shaving! But they serve me well. They look fantastic in my River Island Molly jeans, my red and white palazzo trousers, my summer shorts and night-out skirts. My feet are lovely too - bigger than average but soft and feminine with toes that wiggle in the sand and slide into socks and enjoy the cool sensation of tiled flooring underneath them.

I love my shoulder blades. Or, as I like to call them, my angel wings. I had a backless dress for prom and I loved it, but since then my back has become marked with moles (and a scar after having to have one removed). They have been the point of pain for many years but I love how strong, elegant and feminine they are.

This is where it gets a bit tricker... but, I love my hands. I used to be self-conscious of my rather large hands and long fingers, but I am learning to love them. They’re smooth and feminine and allow me to have a tactile relationship with the world. They’re my medium for translating the thoughts in my head into written, or typed, words. They allow me to cook, create a warm smokey eye and curl my hair with ease and, although they still sometimes show the signs of my anxiety-induced biting & picking as a child, they have healed and continue to be resilient.

Deep breaths... I love my stomach. No, it never really settles or feels relaxed, and it can be the source of pain and discomfort, but I love my stomach. I love my waist, my belly button and the freckle to the right of it. I love the fact that it is designed to hold and nurture life if that is going to be part of my story one day. It isn’t as flat as I would like it to be, but it does a pretty good job of digesting whatever I feed it, despite battling Crohn’s disease daily, and along with my hips and waist, it allows me to express myself through movement and dance (if you can call it that!).

I think... I love my face. I often say I look like Gollum without makeup on, which is really quite cruel and grossly unfair. I struggle to love the darkness under my eyes, my permanently red cheeks and my spot-prone skin, but my eyes are a beautiful blue and sparkle when I smile. They allow me to have a visual connection to everything around me, for which I am eternally grateful and will never take for granted. They’re framed by eyebrows that I have taken pride in for ten years and that are frequently the focal point of compliments. My teeth aren’t the straightest, but I have a nice smile and I love my mouth for all it does for me: tasting chocolate, sharing stories, kissing, talking and laughing.

I love my hair. Sometimes I wish it was ultra curly, or poker straight, rather than the in-between-ness that I try to tame. But I remember how my Nanna would sit with her rollers in at night, trying to emulate the wave that her husband, my Grandad, had passed down to my mum and I. My hair tolerates my frequent GHD treatment oh so well and graciously accepts new colours and styles. Sure, it falls out more than I like, but on the whole it withstands medication and disease really well and for that I am truly grateful.

What do you love about your body? How it looks, how it feels, what it does for you?

Nic x
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Monday, April 30, 2018

SUPERLATIVELY RUDE LIVE


I had a 50-minute-long bath yesterday morning (well, around midday). I never have baths. My body felt a bit broken, although my headache packed its bags around 2pm. I slept 'til 9.30 and had a pack of Belvita breakfast biscuits (of the milk and cereal variety) with a handful of Thornton's milk chocolate smiles (they're bloody incredible) for breakfast, followed by a second pack of Belvita, an Asda own-brand cereal bar and a bowlful of sweet & salted popcorn in lieu of lunch. I attempted to put some makeup on around 4pm, only for me to be bare-faced again by 6pm. Dinner consisted of two goats cheese and caramelised onion pies from the freezer (also from Asda, bloody delicious and not nutritious in the slightest).

This probably sounds like a typical Sunday for your average 23-year-old, having been hit by the booze bus and careered round the endless loop known as Lack of Self Control the night before. But no, dear reader, I was not experiencing an alcohol-induced hangover. I was simply a woman who  had made the decision to travel from Nottingham to London (and back) on Saturday in a bid to escape loneliness (Greg was on a Stag Do), regret and FOMO by going to The Event of The Season. I've just received the follow-up email from the event's host, which included "A Small Thing":

"I know that Saturday was glorious, but for many of us, it was also a little emotional, and we definitely felt a little tired and reflective yesterday. That's totally normal, I think, and I hope everyone is drinking lots of water and going a little slower and being kind to themselves. A room of 90 women is a beautiful thing, and the energy lingers long after we've dissipated."

Perhaps my symptoms were in fact due to an emotional hangover of sorts - the kind that happens after you've spent time (in my case, 18 hours) outside your comfort zone, being stretched, inspired, motivated, challenged, humbled, educated... alongside 89 other women experiencing the same. I knew the day would take its toll on my body (that's Crohn's Disease for you) but I hadn't quite anticipated the affect it would have on my soul. Was it worth Sunday being written off entirely? Oh yes.

The event in question was Superlatively Rude Live, hosted by thirty-something columnist, blogger and impeccably honest Instagrammer Laura Jane Williams (or, as she might henceforth be known, LJ). "An un-conference for open hearts, curious minds, and a f*cking good time", held in LABS High Holborn (a gorgeous venue offering co-working space that I would totally be down for if I lived in London, rather than Nottingham), with breakfast on arrival, delicious choux buns after lunch, incredible speakers who shared their wisdom and wit across three sessions and plenty of time in-between to mingle, chat and share Instagram handles.


(myself, Claire and LJ. I totally tried not to act like a fangirl... I doubt I succeeded.)

You can read about the full schedule and speakers on the website, so I'll refrain from simply regurgitating that information here. However, I will say that I found Alya's discussion of being 'both and neither' beautifully thought-provoking and Lucy's comparison workshop truly invaluable (having the opportunity to meet and speak to her IRL was really special, too). Claire's explanation of the menstrual cycle and our inner-seasons was fascinating, eye-opening and truly educational and the space she created was borderline magical: hearing women speak so openly about bleeding, contraception and hormones was a first for me and I felt a sense of pride and privilege for being part of it. Bridget's captivating poetry performance reignited the creative spark inside me and I was so glad I'd chucked that fiver in my bag and was able to buy her book, Titanic, to read on the coach home. Justin, also known as The Guyliner, read an excerpt from his first novel which had us all in stitches and paved the way for Natasha to share what she's learned from Conversations on Love. There were opportunities for questions, discussion and interaction and I filled up thirteen (which just happens to be *my number*) pages of a new notebook with diagrams, quotes and book recommendations.


God, I feel a little tired again after writing that paragraph - tired, and bloody inspired. Check out #SuperlativelyRudeLive on Instagram to see more photos from the day as I am extraordinarily excellent at living in the moment and totally forgetting to document a single thing through my camera. One final thing to add, before I sign off for now, is that everyone was really... nice? Friendly. Chilled. Open. Welcoming. I'd packed a pair of heels for fear of being the least-stylish person in the room and yet - and I mean this with the upmost respect, gratification and admiration - everyone looked so *normal* I didn't even feel I had needed to. People looked cool and comfortable and unique and... themselves? I don't know. Most blogger-led events I've been to have left me feeling like an Ugly Duckling Outsider. Superlatively Rude Live felt like somewhere I truly... belonged. *cringe*.

Back soon with more thoughts on periods and comparison and love, most likely!

Nic x

P.S: you can (and should) sign up for Superlatively Rude Live Alerts by clicking here. I *think* this will add you to a mailing list where you'll be among the first to know about future events which, believe me, you don't want to miss out on.

P.P.S: this event did cost money, and I paid for my ticket myself of course. It wasn't the cheapest thing I've ever been to, but it was good value and I'm so glad I bit the bullet and went for it. More green juice and maybe slightly longer time for questions/discussions after each session next time, LJ? Oh, and seven goodybags filled with choux buns (each) would be a delicious touch, too.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

INVISIBLE ILLNESS


(This post was first published on the 8th February, 2017)

If you'd been in lectures with me today, you might have noticed my black skinny jeans, my adidas trainers, or my new favourite jumper. You may have spotted me fiddling with my necklace, running my fingers through my hair an annoying amount of times, or stifling a few too many yawns. If you had sat next to me you might have admired my freshly painted nails, my watch or my cute little rose ring. If you're an eagle-eyed make-up lover you'd possibly have complimented my bronzer or flawless eyebrows and you'd probably agree that my hair looked half-decent!

You might also have noticed (with a degree of annoyance) that I shifted in my seat quite a lot, although it probably wouldn't have crossed your mind that I was doing so because I was in intense, unrelenting pain. You'd probably assume that my yawning was due to typical student behaviour last night: partying too hard in town or cramming in the library. It wouldn't cross your mind that I'd actually been sat awake in bed for hours, shedding silent tears of frustration as my stomach gurgled away beyond my control, preventing me from sleeping. Concealer hides the ever-darkening circles that sit symmetrically below my eyes though, so that's alright.

You probably didn't pay any attention to the times I leant forward under my desk and rubbed at my aching knee joint. Some days it feels so inflamed and achey, but I can make it look like I've just got an itch that needs scratching, so that's alright.

After our lecture, we'd most likely make our way to get some food or head to a study spot. You probably wouldn't bat an eyelid at the effort it takes me to climb the stairs, clutching on to the handrail at every opportunity. I'm so fatigued at the moment that my body feels like it could give up at any moment, but I won't say anything - no point dampening the mood! And anyway, I'm alright.

We'd walk down the corridor and pass fellow students or staff members, who might make small talk, asking how we are. Like you, I'll reply "fine, thanks!" and we might all make a joke out of how tired or stressed we're feeling. That's just third year - we're all in the same boat. Of course, from what I can tell, you're stressing over whether you're going to have time for two nights out this week and still get the essay in on time. I'm anxious about whether I'll be able to work for long enough each day before my brain fogs over and whether I will be able to get any work done in hospital when I go in for my next infusion. But that's third year, right?! So much to do, so little time. We'll be alright.

If at the end of our busy day you happened to stumble across this blog post, you might feel pissed off with me for attention-seeking, or making out that my problems are bigger than yours. You might feel sorry for me, or think I'm over-reacting as I really did seem absolutely fine at uni today, like I always do. But I haven't written this to get any reaction from you. My problems aren't necessarily "bigger" than yours, they're just different. I'm pretty good at hiding them, which means that I can appreciate that you most likely have your own problems too, under the surface.

So let's just be nice to one another. Let's listen a little more carefully and pay a bit more attention when someone makes a seemingly insignificant comment about their situation. Because I'm sure most of us are suffering with an invisible illness in one way or another. Maybe we're not "alright".
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THE SHACK: MY THOUGHTS ON THE FILM



I wrote this post out in bed, after Greg had fallen asleep next to me, about forty-five minutes after we watched The Shack for the first time. A couple of years ago, the book transformed how I viewed God, the world and suffering so, after watching the film and having a similar reaction, I thought I’d try and untangle why it had such a profound affect on me. Note: this is definitely a case where I would absolutely recommend reading the book first, for various reasons, as it will enable you to get the most from the film, in my opinion. Another Note: this post will be completely spoiler-free, so read on without hesitation!

My mum had cautioned that the shack would be a difficult book to get through, and difficult it was. I found myself writing a Facebook status asking whether anyone I knew had made it past the traumatic first chapters. After some words of encouragement, I persevered, and what happened thereon can only be described as an emotional uprooting: I was torn out of my stubborn, weed-ridden soil, given a vigorous shake and then replanted with the ability to see things from a totally new perspective.

Watching the film left me feeling pretty much the same way.

I'll start my untangling of this by saying that I am an emotional, sensitive and deep-thinking person. I always have been! As a child I cried so much over the first scenes of Tarzan that I refused to watch it for the next fifteen years... I am also deeply perceptive when it comes to anything spiritual, which may go some way to explaining why I have such a strong reaction to this sort of story.


The Shack tells the story of Mack, a father of three whose extremely troubled and painful childhood has marred his view of, and relationship with, God drastically. A tragic event sends Mack into crippling depression, The Great Sadness, when one day he receives a note inviting him back to The Shack. Feeling that he has nothing else to lose, Mack makes the journey back to the site of his worst nightmares and thus begins a weekend of confronting his pain, past and present, in the company of someone who claims to love him more than he could ever know...

(Can you tell I’m trying really hard to keep this spoiler-free?!)

I think what really *gets* me is this. Watching Mack relive his pain and expressing his intense anger is so overwhelmingly familiar it triggers memories and scars within myself. I understand his all-consuming hurting: the desperation and overwhelming despair that manifests itself in rage directed at God. As I watch Mack confront his pain, wade through it, learn to forgive while carrying the weight of his sorrow and be healed of it all I feel moved to the core of my being. I’m reminded of my own journey(s) to hell and back as I struggled with depression, grief, resentment, despair, anger and pain. I'm reminded of my ongoing journey of healing, transformation and relationship with God, the universe or whatever it is that's above and beyond our human understanding.

At one point in the film, the lake beneath Mack turns to black and his rowing boat starts to splinter, break and sink underneath him. Mack shouts and cries out again and again, overcome by fear, panic and desperation. 

“Keep your eyes on me. None of this can hurt you.”

This scene, like many others, took my breath away. Through my tears, I tried to explain why. For me, this is why faith is so important: in moments of desperation and pain, we - I - need something to hold onto. Someone, or something, to look to, to anchor us - I know I did.

The Shack details Mack's journey in such a magical, awe-inspiring way: the book captures the emotion and detail in a way that only a book can, while the film portrays the story with spectacular imagery, sound and sensitivity that took my breath away. There is so much more I could say, but I’ll leave it there for now and simply say that if The Shack hasn’t been on your radar until today, please take this as a sign to order your copy. If you’re a reader, I’d strongly suggest buying the book first, and taking your time with it before watching the film and, if you need someone to talk to while you’re reading it, send me a message on twitter or Instagram any time.

With love,

Nicola x

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Friday, April 20, 2018

STARTING AGAIN.


I'm trying to remember how old I was when I first discovered the world of blogging and YouTube. Fourteen perhaps? I started my own blog, Welcome to Nicola Land, shortly after and remember being so excited to have my own online space and share my love for makeup and fashion (if you could call it that!) alongside the likes of BeautyCrush (as she was known back then) and others who I thought were just. so. cool.

I enthusiastically told my mum about my blog and she was all for it, but I'll never forget the time some friends of ours saw it and responded in a very different way - they found it hilarious and, although they were just being immature kids at the time, it really knocked my confidence and cemented the fact that blogging was just *not* something the cool kids would be seen doing then.

Fast-forward ten years and here we are: blogging is probably considered the coolest thing in 2018 - the success some of my favourite (and not-so-favourite) bloggers and YouTubers have had over the past decade is incredible, unprecedented and, if I'm being totally honest, absolutely gut-wrenchingly envy-inducing for me. I kept up with blogging but mainly watched from the sidelines, with YouTube being one of my main loves in life (I definitely watch it every day - with my breakfast, while doing my makeup or, like today, cooking dinner and subsequently slicing my thumb open) and the whole blogosphere industry becoming something that I feel I know inside-out. And yet, I've never eaten my piece of the pie. If only I had stuck with blogging, taken it seriously, made key investments (although, could I really have afforded to keep up? Probably not) and been brave enough to make YouTube videos from the age of thirteen. Maybe now I'd be in a mansion on the south-coast of England being paid to film what I'm having for breakfast rather than sitting in my Primark Marie pyjamas somewhere in the midlands questioning where on earth my life is heading career-wise...

But.

My life took a different path. And I can't do anything to change the past. So here I am, starting again...

I really wasn't going to write a *comeback* or *new beginnings* blog post. But it felt weird to be working on content and making *grand plans* behind-the-scenes without making a more public marker of it... is that a Virgo thing?


So, where do we (I) go from here?

Taking advice from various sources, I have been:

So. My blog and Instagram will be becoming a public extension of all of this. Of me. I know I will never fit the mould of Insta-perfection with stunning photos of me tanned and toned on beaches, or eating brunch at Betty's or showcasing my favourite products in a perfectly-lit flatlay. BUT I know that I have a lot of valuable things to share with the world and I'll be damned if I let past regrets and present insecurities stand in my way.

So, let me (re-)introduce myself

I'm Nicola, or Nic. I am a chocoholic who grew up detesting P.E. lessons but is striving for a healthier lifestyle to  improve my Crohn's Disease symptoms and build a peachy bum. Fashion isn't really my thing but makeup definitely is. I have a creative spirit that I am trying to develop, be led by and express through my writing and photos. Some shit things have happened in my life (let's be honest, who hasn't been through shit?), but they have taught me a lot and made me want to share my story in the hope of helping others. I graduated with a first-class degree in Sociology in 2017 and miss learning, so I'm becoming a student of sorts again by reading and taking online courses - I'll blog about that too! Singing is a passion of mine, although something I no longer do in public... maybe there will be room for that on my space on the internet? I am a girlfriend to a drayman and all-round great guy who has taught me how it feels to be loved for who I truly am. Together we are parents to a ragdoll kitten, Mitsy, who is definitely Instagram-worthy as she is just a ball of fluff and cuteness!

I am a total mishmash of a person but I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe, that could be my biggest strength...

I'm feeling a clichéd blend of nerves and excitement about this whole situation and I hope you'll join me on this journey... that sounds a bit cringe... but let's see where this takes us!

Nic x
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