Pied by Piper

Safe Space for Self Love

I MYSELF AM MADE ENTIRELY OF FLAWS, STITCHED TOGETHER WITH GOOD INTENTIONS. - AUGUSTEN BURROUGHS.

Spending my life apologising for things that made me happy got boring real fast. If it wasn't "cool" or wasn't "in" I'd keep those things to myself. They were always super small and I suppose insignificant things but really important to me nonetheless.

I never really cared what people thought about me on a superficial level but I've always been someone who thinks quite deeply about everything and so when it came to the real shit, I'd keep that to myself and save it for my writing.

As an adult, I've learn to embrace this side of me and it's actually made me really understand and appreciate the way that my mind works. Not only that, it's helped me create strong bonds with those around me.

I think the phrase "lifes too short" is both overused and rarely practised.

I live for the feeling you get when you discover a new song and wonder what you did before you heard it. The sight of watching a couple of strangers fall in love and the sensation of reaching that "fuck it" stage when you've been out in a rain storm for too long. I also realised that I valued the drunken 3am chats whilst chain smoking around my friends house than I did the actual night out.

Although I love nothing more than fitting into a group of people, recently, I've found a solid group of friends that I feel content with. No boundaries, no bullshit and no judgement. Just pure love, support and understanding. I feel privileged and accepted and it's the best feeling in the world because it's genuine.

2018 has really taught me so much about myself. It's been such an important year for me and it's only June. The most important lesson is that ~ I'm still learning to be me ~ and that's OK.
Surround yourself with people who make your soul feel caffeinated. - karen salmansohn.

If you're a self confessed coffee addict like myself, you'll understand the importance of always having a mug at hand, cafe's nearby and a weekly allowance to stay fuelled. Since I've had my new phone I've seen an array of apps build up, dedicated solely to fulfilling this need (laugh it up, guys).

Costa

I know this doesn't need much explaining but it's surprising how many people don't know that Costa have an app. Not only can you scan the app to earn rewards (more coffee? yes pls) and add the barcode to your apple wallet but you can also search the area for nearby branches which is so useful to me when I travel for work as much as I do.

Starbucks

I'll be the first to admit that Starbucks is incredibly overrated, sorry not sorry. However, no matter where I am I can guarantee there's a Starbucks near by and if that means buying overpriced coffee but earning rewards, count me in. Coffee tastes better when it's free, you feel me?

Best Coffee

This app is a new one for me but I've instantly fallen in love with it. Not only is the layout of it incredibly pleasing but it's super handy when I'm travelling and looking for a good coffee place with little time to spare. All the cafe's listed have been tested and approved so you never have to worry about paying an arm and a leg for bad coffee. I love to favourite the coffee shops that I rave about and save the ones that I'd like to visit.

Greggs

The last of the reward apps is the Greggs app. The reason this one has made the list is because Greggs is my go-to when it comes to cheap coffee (beside Prett, of course, because 99p for a coffee- hello)and the rewards on here are insane. I got my first coffee FREE just for installing the app and also a bottle of Coke Zero. Can't go wrong, really. I was also a huge fan of collecting the stamps from their reward scheme where you'd buy 10 coffees and get the 11th free. On the app, however, you only need to buy 7 and then your 8th is free. Amazing. I also have an allowance setup on the app where I can send money over to the account straight from my bank account and so always have money set aside for caffeine. Priorities, eh?

Coffitivity

The final app to make the cut today is an app called Coffitivity. If you're like me and do a lot of online work you'll understand the importance of a productive work space. This could be as simple as working from a desk instead of your bed or as dedicated as heading over to a shared office work space. For me, I also felt most inspired at a coffee shop. Sipping on a good cup of coffee, hooking up to the free WiFi. There's something about the sounds of chatter from other busy people that motivates me. Sometimes, for whatever reason, I haven't been able to access a coffee shop so failing this I'd work from my usual set up at home and use the Coffitivity app. I'd hook my phone up to some speakers and use one of the installed sound clips of a busy coffee shop. Don't knock it before you've tried it.

I have many more reward type apps dedicated to coffee shops but I only shared a few of my favourites that I know other people may use and benefit from as much as I do.

Ah. I'm so blessed to have my own corner of the internet where it's semi acceptable to write an entire post about apps dedicated to coffee...

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. - Dr Seuss

I was walking back from work the other day when I heard the sound of a bell, signalling that someone was leaving the shop across from me and it's something that I hadn't noticed before, besides taking this same route to and from work every day. It was the type of bell that you hear in old movies and it got me thinking: thousands of people have probably walked down this street before me, hearing the same chime and thousands will after me too. It was a strange revelation.

There'll be fashion statements, celebrity household names and political triumphs that will define our generation but something that won't make it onto newspapers to be read years later are the seemingly unimportant small talk that we have with our friends and family, the inside jokes that we share with one another and the small impressions we make on strangers. This is left to the hearts of those who felt it and passed down, through their own words, to those they care about enough to share with and that's what makes them special. The raw, untarnished beauty of the small things in life.

Blogging is a great example of this and why I spend so much of my time reading through the work of so many people whom I may never meet. The way that different people experience the same thing and can share their average lives with an open space full of countless people waiting to listen, will forever fascinate me.

I've always been one for the "dull" moments. I am not a thrill seeker and I'd much prefer to sit in a field all day talking with friends about anything and everything. I'll openly discuss any topic and share my own experiences with anyone who wants to hear them but more than anything, I love to listen. I collect small observations and memories as if they were fossils and write them down as if someday everyone's going to want to hear them.

The big moments are often the focus of our efforts and the goals for our lifetime but the things that you'll take with you, the things that will give you that true feeling of nostalgia are the small moments others may forget...

"Sometimes I forget that putting myself first isn't selfish, but necessary."

Since I've been speaking a lot about self-improvement on this old blog of mine for a while now, I thought it was time I shared with you my biggest personal insecurity. It's something that I've struggled with for a long time and a weakness of mine which I want to combat. There's a fine line between being a nice, considerate person and being a pushover. It's a line I'm still, myself, trying to find and I've since made the decision to sit down and get it all off my chest.

I hate confrontation. There, I said it. And it isn't because I can't handle it. I genuinely just don't like the idea of upsetting anyone, or in the workplace, making someone's job any harder and so I often find myself saying yes to things that I really should say no to. Honestly? It does come from a good place but when you really want to make a good impression in your new work place, it can be hard to know if your positive intentions are coming across.I'm a big team player and I love to help people out. I'm also a firm believer that your workforce needs to be happy in order to make customers and therefore, the business, happy too. I'm just trying to learn to find that work-play balance that I am so desperate for.

The truth is, I'm a people pleaser, through and through and I always have been but in order to function at my best I need a little time to myself, maybe to do some writing or watch Catchphrase. No matter what it is, I just need time to refuel before saying "yes, of course" again. Now, I'm not expecting for this to change over night but it's certainly something that I need to work on and I'm sure there's many others who often find themselves in the same predicament as me, offering more of your time out than you actually have. It can be difficult to say no sometimes but you just have to do it.
It's easy to think that people will like you more for agreeing to anything and everything but actually, it can have the opposite effect. Don't stretch yourself too thin, trying to help everyone all at the same time. Once you start to value and prioritise your time realistically, the jobs you do will be appreciated that little more.

That being said, don't let anyone make you believe that being a kind-hearted person who just wants to help is a bad thing. People appreciate a helpful, selfless person but sometimes you have to respect yourself and your time enough to say no to optional jobs that you don't think are worth your time or effort. This is especially important for any other freelancers out there. Offering too much and overworking yourself isn't the answer and people will only take advantage. Charge what you are worth and nothing less than that.

So here's to the just-as-helpful-more-realistic-less-soft version of myself. Wow, that was a mouthful.

"When you say 'yes' to others, make sure you are not saying 'no' to yourself." - Paulo Coelho

I've been going to the gym 7 days a week for a long time now but this particular morning felt a little different to any of the other sessions. My heart was pounding, I was out of breath but I was struggling to keep my head in the game. I had an overwhelming feeling of, what I can only describe as, emptiness. I had music blaring through my headphones at max volume but my thoughts were suffocating the music, disallowing any distractions.

I was only 25 minutes into my session at this point but I had to stop.

Going to the gym, for me, has always been about maintaining a good level of fitness. I don't want to be the next Jodie Marsh. Instead I want to worry less about the outside and aim to ensure that I'm healthy on the inside.

Whether I'd pushed myself too far, I don't know but the day before this, I'd injured my calf. Piers advised that I take a couple of days off to let my body heal before going back at it again. I was okay with this idea (to begin with anyway) until I woke up the next morning and although I was in pain- decided to push through anyway.

The thing I had failed to notice was why I felt that I needed to go. It wasn't because I enjoyed going but because I knew I would feel guilty if I didn't. To push through, I was imagining being skinny again, thinking about all the clothes I could comfortably wear if I lost a few inches off my waist. I even thought about life in the bedroom if I lost a couple of pounds. It's kinda embarrassing to admit that these are what came to mind in pursuit of pushing through.

"If you could see yourself, just for a day, you'd see how everyone else sees you. And my god, you are fucking beautiful."

It was honestly so innocent to begin with. I was soon to be starting a new job (yay) and I wanted to get as much exercise in as I could before I started. I'd recently given up smoking and so wanted something to fill my time with and most of all: I actually enjoyed going. It became a part of my morning routine that I looked forward to. I loved the feeling of achievement after a hard session and I loved, even more, the sheer amount of energy I had in my day-to-day life. Somewhere along the way, I lost that. I'd never congratulate myself unless the scales agreed that they second those cheers.

I was starting to adopt an unhealthy mindset. Since then, I've made the decision to stop weighing myself and to not take any pictures of my progress and most importantly- listen to my body. This way, I forget about a specific aim and concentrate on simply staying active and healthy.

I suppose this is less of a blog post and more of an apology letter to myself. Learning to love myself and my body is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Sometimes I am going to slip up and I need to learn to forgive myself for these mistakes. After all, I'm only human.

Is there anything that you need to forgive yourself for?

There's something about creatives and their endeavours which scare people. To do something that hasn't yet been done and to throw yourself into a line of work which doesn't have set rules of what is right and what is wrong, often creates a blurred line when it comes to 'success'. There's this idea, often depicted in movies and almost exclusively applies to artists and writers, that creative souls spend the majority of their lives as failures, having to choose between their passion and their profit. Until they finally stumble upon an idea which becomes a phenomenon and then they crawl back into their hole which they came from, never successfully topping that and becoming a 'one hit wonder'.

I think this fear comes from the occurrence of writers block or creative block and thus stops people from reaching for this dream of creating. The truth is, creators don't need fancy degrees or 'permission', if you will, to be creative. Sure, there are areas of expertise where their creativity flourishes at it's best but it isn't exclusive to that one area.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to understand." - Albert Einstein.

Creative people are often portrayed as mentally unstable, alcoholic insomniacs. But why? If you're a creator yourself, you'll relate to getting ideas at the most inappropriate times and having a small window of opportunity to write them down before they leave your mind. Whether it's 2am and you're trying to get to sleep or you see some strangers in the park and need to perfectly capture the scene you've just witnessed. This feeling of sudden creativity can spark assumptions that we are impulsive.

It's not only this fear of creatives that stops people attempt to achieve something in their life or to work hard on something, it's also the fear of failure or judgement. This type of fear is instilled in us, not from birth, but from negative, unproductive criticism along the way. I'm sure we've all had moments in our lives when we've been really proud of something you've spent hours or maybe even weeks working on and someone had a good laugh at your expense. If you're constantly told that you are not good at something, eventually you just stop trying. It knocks you.

We need original thinkers. There's no question about that, but what we need to work on is our division of creative people and non-creative people. Someone who could achieve great success and fulfilment from painting may never pick up a paintbrush because he's 'not a creative person'.

What we're in need of is a little more positive reinforcement so paint things, make music and write poetry. Create and don't stop creating. If someone says you're not good at something, do it anyway.

Do you consider yourself "creative"?

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