Can we stop being “Busy”?

I bumped into an old friend in Tesco’s a few weeks ago.  See, I’ve started doing my weekly food shop on a Monday morning when it’s practically empty; I slunk in there with my list at 10am bare-faced with a (very) messy bun and wearing the same jogging bottoms Bungle smeared with mud on his walk that morning safe in the knowledge that it’s okay because I’m never going to bump into anyone I know.  Except a few weeks ago – oh the horror! – I did.  I was in the middle of one of those deep internal conversations I have with myself down the bread aisle when I’m trying to decide whether to buy that six pack of jam doughnuts even though I’ve promised myself that I won’t, when she completely caught me off guard.

And then we did the dance.  You know the dance, the old “Hey!  I thought it was you!  I haven’t seen you in ages!” dance-off, where you fling small talk at each other until you run out of things to say (whilst also very sneakily checking out the contents of each other’s trolley – there’s a two year old child in hers and a six pack of doughnuts and a box of laxatives in mine).

“So, how’s things?” she asked.

And that’s when I said it.  “…Oh, you know, really busy.”

Busy.  It’s not so much a lie, but more of a reflex; automatic, impulsive, my go-to response in exactly this sort of situation.  But okay – yeah, you got me – it is also a lie because at that precise moment in time “busy” isn’t the word most people would choose when describing my life.  “Stalled”, is probably a better word (as if the doughnuts and laxatives weren’t clue enough) because actually, things have been a bit quiet; Sunny’s been away with work a lot and I haven’t really had any plans. And despite the fact than I’m completely fine with all that, I still regurgitate that same lie.  Why?  Maybe it’s because I want the conversation to be over as quickly as possible, or maybe – just maybe – it’s because I want to give the illusion that I’m living my best life, that I’m successful and important but without directly saying that I am.  Maybe I’m trying to reassure myself that I’m those things too, as I stand there in my muddy joggers wondering whether I washed that blob of face mask off my cheek that morning that I smeared on to get rid of some super-sexy cystic acne.

Whatever the reason, the lie leaves a bit of an aftertaste in my mouth and so I chase it by asking her the same question.  I feel instantly better when she tacks on a smile, rolls her eyes and says, “Busy too!”

We all are.  Or, we’re all lying about the fact that we are.  Social Media especially is full of people hustling, side-hustling, seeing the world and building relationships.  We’re all eager to let the world know that we’re on our way to our next meeting, climbing the ladder, heading out to dinner, meeting a friend or that we’re getting on another plane… but not so eager to let everyone know when we’re taking the day to do some washing because we’re out of fresh knickers again, or invest in a bit of self care.

When you’re constantly blasted with images and videos of other people being busy, the fact that you’re not can feel like a failure.  And yikes!  No one wants people thinking they’re a failure.  So we’re all – perhaps unintentionally – buying into and perpetuating this lie, keeping up with the Insta-Joneses and purposely documenting/telling people how busy we are, and therefore how in-demand we are, how happy we are, how successful we are… and on and on and on.

So, what should I have said instead?  Should I have just thrown down the veil for a second and just been completely and brutally honest?  Should I have just picked up the laxatives, shook the box and said, “Oh, I’m working on something really important right now”?  Sorry! TMI and probably not, but “I’m good thanks, things are a bit quiet at the moment, but that’s fine” would have been far better and far more honest.  Would it really have been so hard to say that instead?  I don’t want to be that girl who’s always “busy”.  Too busy for the more important things in life.

It’s time to lift the lid and break the myth of “busy” being a soft synonym for “successful” and using it as a crutch when we feel exactly the opposite. And similarly, it’s time to realise that “quiet” doesn’t mean “boring”, and doesn’t necessarily need to involve a beach to be a good thing.  Just because work is slow, or you haven’t eaten out this month or travelled anywhere interesting recently doesn’t mean that your life is meaningless. The truth is that everyone loves a bit of quiet time now and then, it’s everything else around us that’s working hard to convince us that we shouldn’t.

So anyway, how are you, how’s things? 😉

5 Favourite Fashion Hacks

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I love a good hack!  And I’m always on the lookout for ones that’ll help me make the most out of whatever’s hanging in my wardrobe.  So here are five fashion hacks I’m always pulling out of my sleeve. 🙂

1. The Two-Way Blouse

You know how much I love my weird and wacky patterned shirts, and now I love them even more thanks to this genius little hack I picked up whilst video hopping on Youtube (damn you ‘Suggested’ sidebar!).  There are plenty of different ways to wear a shirt, but this trick is a new favourite of mine because it’s easy peasy and practically turns the shirt into a whole new top.  All you have to do is tuck in the collar, work out where you want the neckline to sit and button inwards (just like you would with your duvet – or am I the only one who does that?).  Tuck it into some Mom jeans and voila!

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2. The Perfect Imperfect Tuck

First World Problem Number 99, amiright?  How to tuck your blouse/t-shirt/cami into your bottom half so it looks neat… but not too neat.  Here’s what I do.  Put on your jeans but leave them unbuttoned, then put on whatever top you’re looking to tuck.  Grab the middle part of the top’s hem and twist it once.  Now position it downwards against your abdomen whilst you do up your jeans.  Once everything’s secured you can gently tug on the fabric to loosen things up a bit.  Tada!  The perfect imperfect tuck without spending an hour fussing in front of the mirror. 🙂

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3. From Dress to Skirt

This is one of my favourite things to do when I’m travelling.  It only works on dresses with an open neckline that’ll fit over your thighs, though, so it’s not exactly a foolproof hack.  Saying that, I’ve got a couple of dresses that I know work well with this trick and like to pack them to save on space in my suitcase.  All you need to do is step into the neckline, pinch the waistline and then pull it up.  You can tidy up the waistline with a belt or a tied shirt.

4. Paperclips and Safety Pins

I keep a stash of these babies in my jewellery box because I use them all the time to tweak and perfect my outfits.  Safety pins can be used to fasten low necklines and wrap dresses, and can even be used to stop necklace chains from twisting round.  Just loop a pin through the clasp and then secure it to the label in the back of your top (providing it’s high enough of course 😉 ).  Paper clips can be used to hide bra straps – especially when you’re wearing a racer back.

5. Banging Ballet Pumps

I love flats – especially open ones – but I can’t stand having to grip them with my toes to stop them from falling off.  I bought these stripy ones from Primark for a couple of quid last year and they were a bit too loose, so I stitched in a couple of ribbons and gave them a bit of a prima ballerina makeover.  The ribbons secure the slippy shoes to my feet, and also make them look a bit more expensive than they were.  Just make sure you use a strong needle and either burn or paint the ends of the ribbons with clear nail varnish to stop them fraying.

What are your favourite fashion hacks?  Let me know in the comments! 🙂

10 Female Welsh Bloggers to Watch in 2018

10 Female Welsh Bloggers to Watch in 2018 - The Cardiff Cwtch

If there’s one thing that I bloody love about the internet (…other than Spotify, Wikipedia and my ASOS wishlist) it’s the fact that it allows you connect with so many like-minded, creative peeps you’d have otherwise probably never met.  Before I started blogging there were times where I felt incredibly lonely when it came to my own creativity; taking pictures, cooking and throwing my thoughts down was something I did completely on my own and only shared with my family and friends.  Before I started blogging I had absolutely no idea how many soul sisters there were just around the corner.  There are loads of talented Welsh Bloggers out there – waaaay too many to cram into just one blog post – but here’s a handful of my favourite online ladies as well as a few recent discoveries to get you started. 🙂

1. Rachel of “Rachel the Hat”

I first came across Rachel over on Instagram. I was initially drawn in by her colourful daily outfit posts but quickly became hooked on her fun and friendly Stories updates and her down to earth personality.  She’s also got a killer blog and YouTube Channel, hosts Blogger linkups and was recently chosen by Laura Ashley as their Style Crush for December.

Suggested Posts: Not Keeping up with the Insta-Jones’ – Stopping the Constant Buying“, “Five Ways to Downsize Your Wardrobe

2. Christy of “Style Rarebit”

I’m continually blown away by Christy’s daily fashion and beauty posts over on Instagram, as well as her clean and crisp looking blog.  And I can confirm that she’s just as stunning and as lovely in person as she is in her beautiful photographs 🙂

Suggested Posts: When am I going to ‘Make it’?“, “Flower Shopping

3. Gwennan of “Twenty Something Meltdown”

If you’re into Bullet Journals and Stationary then you seriously need Gwennan on your blogroll.  As well as being a talented illustrator, she also blogs all things lifestyle over at Twenty Something Meltdown and was even nominated as Lifestyle Blogger of the Year at last year’s Blogosphere Awards.  You’ll LOVE her real and relatable Instagram posts.  (Also, I’m pretty sure we live right around the corner from each other – I have literally no idea how we haven’t bumped into each other down the supermarket yet)

Suggested Posts: Two Hearty Meals to Make in Winter“, “43 Things You Remember if you grew up in Wales

4. Naomi of “Teatime with Naomi”

I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and so lived vicariously through Naomi’s blog posts and Instagram back when she was teaching in Nagasaki.  Now she’s back in the UK and studying for an MA in Creative Writing in Bath, her cosy blog is still just as addictive with posts about feminism, mental health and writing 🙂

Suggested Posts: You Are Enough“, “Why I Just Can’t Go for a Walk

5. Lottie of “This Girl Is”

Lottie’s only been blogging since October but I love her style and her Instagram is absolutely banging.  Definitely go follow her if you’re not already 🙂

Suggested Posts: Coffee Table Stylin’“, “This Girl Is

6. Annie of “Annie Bishop”

I absolutely LOVE Annie’s photography over on Instagram and her style carries right on over to her blog where she writes about music (she’s freelanced writing gig and album reviews) and her travels (definitely check out her “Cities Stories” if you’re planning a Eurotrip any time soon!).

Suggested Posts: Embracing a Settled Life“, “A Beginner’s Guide to Cardiff

7. Charlee of “Rose above the Thorns”

Charlee recently lopped off 12 inches of her lovely long hair to give to the Little Princess Trust, raising £500 to boot, which is amazing!  Based in Swansea, she also blogs budget fashion, beauty and lifestyle over at Rose above the Thorns and also helps run the Welsh Bloggers Twitter Account (also, her pup Beau is so cute!).

Suggested Posts: “Sustainable Fashion: What is it, and how can we make it more accessible?“, “How to Feel Pretty in a World Full of ‘Perfect’ Social Media

8. Charlie of “Charlie’s Chapter”

Fellow Cardiff foodie Charlie blogs all things food and lifestyle over at Charlie’s Chapter, and I love seeing snaps of what she’s recently cooked up over on her Instagram.  Definitely one to watch if fresh and healthy cooking is one of your top priorities for 2018!

Suggested Posts: Cardiff’s Top 5 Breakfast Spots“, “Meal Prep Top Tips: Charlie’s Cheats

9. Leanne of “Be Your Natural Self”

I first started following Leanne over on Instagram as I totally admire her no nonsense approach to fully embracing life, caring less about “perfect” and being yourself.  As well as blogging beauty and lifestyle, she also sings and supports the Alzheimer’s Society.

Suggested Posts: “Why Instagram Perpetuates my Feeble Obsession with Acceptance“, “When I’m Skinny I’ll be Hayley Williams

10. Lucy of “Lucy Mary”

Lucy has only been blogging for a year, but you’d never know it!  It’s clear she’s put in so much work to her lifestyle blog Lucy Mary, where she writes about everything from Wellbeing and living with Cystic Fibrosis, to Fashion and Personal Growth.

Suggested Posts: We’re all Different, but Equal“, “80 Acts of Kindness

Have a fab weekend everyone! X