I need some Space!

My head is a mess!

That’s how I feel when I allow clutter to take control of me.

As I’ve been non-stop for almost two weeks, I’ve felt too tired to do anything when I finally get home each evening. Especially tidying up!

The effect is a messy desk, chair and shelves and an even messier mind.

I haven’t got the neat freak trait but at the same time I hate mess!

When tasks become too big I get overwhelmed and have to run for cover. Adding extra layers of clutter I have to tidy up and in turn extra layers of unnecessary stress.

So my August focus of space is needed more than ever.

My aim is:

  • to declutter and get rid of the things I’ve accumulated. I’m a magnet to paper, bags, broken jewellery and unfinished creative projects.
  • not to say ‘Yes’ to every invitation going.

Basically let go of the things that no longer serve me.

Every object or worry I get rid of will hopefully clear space in my bedroom, calendar and head.

I recently read ‘Stuffocation’ a book which explores the clutter crisis that has hit the world.

Through stories and research the author delves into the effect that owning lots of ‘stuff’ can have on people.

There are insights from people who have let go of owning so much ‘stuff’ to become minimalists.

Although I’m not going to go that extreme, I can definitely see the benefits. Plus, I’ve got to a time in my life where I feel less is more and I’d rather invest in worthwhile items.

The throwaway culture also makes me feel bad for the planet. This has definitely intensified since moving to London and seeing items discarded on the street more often.

I know the time is right to downsize as I’m constantly questioning:

  • Do I need these t-shirts, that I don’t even deem good enough to wear in bed, clogging up space in my wardrobe?
  • Will I read the books that I picked up from a charity shop just because I recognised the author and it was 10p?
  • Will I fix the hole in the dress I’m not sure I actually like or will even fit into again?

Straightforward answer = no!

I’m trying to hold on to the past and hold on to old dreams?

All this is doing holding me back.

I’m aiming to keep one evening a week and one weekend day a month free to relax. To do nothing. To give my mind the space it needs. Promising any more time than this and I know I’ll fail.

But the stuff. Yeah – that’s got to go! I have photos that provide me with memories and I have new dreams to conquer.

Writing this blog post has already made me start to feel good. I’ll have more of that please!

I’ve finished reading ‘Stuffocation’ so if anyone (from the UK) would like me to send them the book. Give us a shout. First come first served.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on clutter and any tips you have to see me through the month (which, if I’m honest is going to probably continue into September).

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday

p.s. if you like this post or any other of my blog posts, please feel free to like, comment or share with friends.

It’s time to FOCUS on August!

“Oh July August. What’s happened to you? You used to be so bright and have such a warmth about you. Now you’re miserable, keeping me in the dark, trying to dampen my spirits. I understand that change is good – but come on!”

This has been my conversation on most days when I leave my house burdened with a coat and umbrella. Hey, what can I say? I’m English, we love to moan about the weather.

Once I’m satisfied that I have given the weather we are currently having in England enough air time, my thoughts move onto what I’m going to focus on in August.

The words Generosity and Space rained down on me (excuse the pun), making me look at ways I could incorporate them into my goals for the month.

I would say that I’m a fairly generous person. I donate to three charities a month, always tips, give my spare change to buskers and the homeless, love to gift friends and spend a lot of my free time visiting family/friends. So I was quite surprised that generosity was a strong contender. Until I looked deeper. As all of these things are second nature to me, they don’t push me forward to be more vulnerable.

How could I make being generous bring me out of my comfort zone and in turn give me valuable life lessons?

An email provided one of the answers. I was going to spend a full week volunteering at the youth centre I usually volunteer for 3hrs a week at. I wanted vulnerable and I got more than I bargained for – so much more!!

My volunteering uniform for the week!

I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I am a ‘people pleaser’ and I ‘like to be liked‘. Well not this week……I became Miss Moany Pants. Constantly telling the young people off, asking them to respect the guys running the session and each other. Most of the time I opened my mouth it was to tell them to be quiet or to watch their words. I was a different me, it was tiring and it made me feel incredibly uncomfortable.

Looking back. After I had a large drink. Or two! And some time away from them. Away from my constant nagging. I realised that it was also one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. What the theatre company and the young people put together in a week was wonderful.

I stepped away from my normal self and by becoming vulnerable, I developed more in character. I discovered things about me that I didn’t know before. I threw aside my shyness battles to be able to support the young people with their insecurities. I got through the days without raising my voice, I didn’t let grudges grow or use passive aggressive means to protect myself. I used my skills to highlight their strengths – of which they had plenty. It really was a money can’t buy experience.

I already respected teachers, youth and social workers but WOW – I commend any one who spends so much of their time working with young people.

Another way I looked at being generous was with dating. To be generous with my choices and to not be ruled by physical attraction.

Last week I had a long overdue catch up with one of my best-friends from childhood. Of course the conversation turned to dating. And my lack of it.

She told me how she used to go for what she perceived to be her ‘type’ and how it would lead to nothing but heartache. Until one day her friend told her to cast her net wider, give other guys a chance. Taking those words on board she met someone who wasn’t her ‘type’ on paper. Almost three years later she is happier than she’s ever been.

I love and respect this friend so when she suggested I try OKCupid, as a few of her good friends had met their long time partners on there. It wasn’t long until I downloaded the app. Taking the time to thoroughly complete the profile and answer as many of the questions that didn’t make me cringe or shudder! Yes, I do have a blog that’s about being open and vulnerable. No I don’t want to answer questions about sexual positions and fantasies.

6 days in and I’ve had 635 likes and 52 messages! So my ego has been dancing around, feeling flattered that so many guys have liked me. I in return have responded to two messages. TWO! Online dating is so time consuming and in my defence I’ve been silly busy the past week, hence not blogging for sometime. I also don’t like to lead people on, in the past I’ve responded saying ‘thank you, but you’re not my type’ which then led to more messages, stealing more time. Still – I can’t help feeling bad and maybe I will respond to them all.

In all honesty I’m also still struggling with giving someone a chance online that I’m not attracted to. I don’t view myself as a shallow person – maybe I am? BUT meeting someone in person is different. You get to know them, see their quirks. Just like my friend did.

I’m not giving up just yet. I deserve to be generous to myself and to others. So baby steps. I’m going to take time to read some profiles and respond to the ones that make me smile regardless of the profile picture that occupies it. Wish me luck.

So I don’t take up too much space in this post (oh yeah the puns keep on coming). I’m going to post about my other focus in another blog post, later this week.

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday

p.s. if you like this post or any other of my blog posts, please feel free to like, comment or share with friends.

Reflection – July Challenges

Heads-up………this is a long, grab a cuppa, type of post! [6min read]

Everyone who knows me knows that I really like to challenge myself. What they may not know is that it’s not because I like pushing myself to the point of nausea or that I like acting to extreme measures.

I challenge myself because I want to change. There are parts of me that I want to bury and replace with something new.

I challenge myself as I believe it will bring exciting adventures, a happier me, a huge growth spurt and in the past a better me.

So last month I didn’t set myself just the one challenge. Oh no – that would be too easy, too simple. This ‘over estimator’ set 10 challenges! 10!

Continue reading “Reflection – July Challenges”

Celebrating 36 years on Earth 🌏

Today is my birthday!

Today I am 36 years old!

Today I am so bloody happy!

(Okay I'm cheating with this pic as it was taken 3 days ago but it was raining then and it's raining now)

But growing older hasn't always left me feeling this way.

Once I reached my 30s, the years quickly began to attach to me.

Each time my birthday came round I would take note of all the things that I didn't have, such as:

  • A husband/partner
  • A mortgage
  • A driving licence
  • Savings
  • Children
  • A degree

And I would be smothered with a sense of dread, longing and disappointment.

My goals of living in far flung places would be replaced with more 'accessible' and 'realistic' aims! And my biological clock would sing out:

"Happy Birthday……Tick Tock"

Leading up to my birthday this year, something changed. The list above, although still lifetime priorities, didn't hold as much weight!

What mattered more was that I have lived to see 36years.

So this morning I jumped out of bed and celebrated my birthday…… in my birthday suit (obvs). Being grateful for all that I do have. All the experiences I've been fortunate to lay claim to.

As I slathered body firming cream onto my cellulite and concealer on to my eye bags. I made a personal 'New Year' resolution to stop trying to fathom out how I should act at each age.

Not only is it a ball-ache but it doesn't achieve anything apart from make the Comparison Cashier work overtime.

I'm quitting this game of age Top Trumps as I'm tired of being woeful about my age. Playing it up when around older people and playing it down when I'm with younger people. Instead of just being.

My housemate said "Can't wait to celebrate YOU today".

So that's exactly what I'm gonna do! Celebrate ME!

(Birthday lunch with my Bow Bird ❤️)

Happy Birthday to Me xx

Emma x

Going back to some roots 🌲 

I am a tree hugger!

As part of my July Challenges – point 5 was to ‘spend time in nature’. After suffering with ‘imposter syndrome‘ for most of the day, an email I’d received from ‘Margaret Rushing‘ sang to me. In it she challenges the reader to go out into nature and ‘hug a tree’. 

I really couldn’t be arsed venturing back out after I’d got home. But……I knew if I didn’t I’d be annoyed with myself for the rest of the evening. So off I went – in search of a tree.

Continue reading “Going back to some roots 🌲 “

July – The Challenges 🙀

I’m a huge fan of Brené Brown so immediately purchased ‘Rising Strong’ when I made the decision to start focusing on challenges.

The book takes a look at getting up after a failure. As I am turning my ‘year of vulnerability’ up a few notches, I know there are going to be times when I am down and want to quit. To retreat back to a cocoon of safety.

Continue reading “July – The Challenges 🙀”

Life – who’s in charge?

I reached for my beautiful turquoise notepad, which was a thoughtful Secret Santa gift from a work colleague. I absolutely love notepads……and stationery in general. That feeling I get visiting Paperchase, The Works, WHSmith and other such stores. Browsing the shelves churns the creative cogs in my mind. 

But notepads have always been my favourite! A blank canvas, igniting inspiration – ready to transform into whatever you want: 

  • hold words that help craft stories
  • plot and plan dreams
  • harbour deep secrets 
  • doodle

I thumb through my notepad and am slightly disheartened when I see the empty pages. I’ve barely made a dent in it. This highlights my habit of starting things with gusto only to move onto the next thing – leaving that particular dream on the shelf! Unfortunately this trait overflows to other parts of my life. 

It’s the book I excitedly started in January – for my year of vulnerability. 

On the first page, I wrote:

“This year I decided to have a theme which I would focus on for the year. That theme is vulnerability. So many things {career, relationships, travels} have been stopped, stilted or not allowed to flourish due to me putting a shield around myself. So it has to stop – here! I am bored of not getting what I want for fear of getting hurt so let’s get to it! This is my scrapbook. I’m going to be journaling, blogging, note taking. Along with doing Facebook Lives, Instagram, reading, therapy sessions and challenges. Bring it on!”

I accompanied this with a list of things that I planned to do – the majority remained unticked.

I seem to have taken a slip road on my journey, which isn’t particularly a bad thing but it is important to reassess what I actually want from this year. 

It’s funny – in life we generally don’t tend to assess things. Our relationships (with family, friends, partners), our jobs, where we live, how we like to spend our spare time. We often make that choice once or fall into it and then let life unconsciously take over – only changing when we have to! I know I’ve spent more time assessing and planning where I want to go on a holiday than anything to do with my life. Crazy!

I love this quote by Zig Ziglar:

As much as the idea of ‘life happening to you’ and ‘working in your favour’ sounds so romantic and the easier option. I don’t actually believe it is. I used to be in the ‘fate’ fan club and living for today. 

This was great for excuses when life hadn’t gone the way I wanted it to: 

“Don’t blame me – blame fate”

But not so great on the purse strings: 

“Fuck saving for a rainy day – tomorrow never comes!” 

Well it did and it has! And many a day I’ve let life guide me too loosely – trying to mask my disappointment with the outcome. 

Planning for the future and the thought of choosing to stay in one place, one job, with one person used to paralyse me. Never considering that I could actually change my direction……..anytime. That I had the choice to do that!

With that notion firmly in my mind……….(again). I’ve learnt this lesson countless times but this time………this time…..it’s firmly in my mind! 

I actually want to be the one leading the show – making the decisions about my life!

Control taken back. Excitement levels restored. 

I pick up my trusty notepad. 

I’m ready to plan my heart out!

This year of vulnerability has just turned up a notch!

Emma x

Instagram: @emmalouhalliday
Twitter: @boomerhalliday

p.s. If you’ve liked this or any of my other posts, I would be grateful if you could give them a share.