Going Sugar Free

As I mentioned briefly in my January & February Throwback, I am a self-confessed chocoholic and it’s something that’s been hovering around me like one of those annoying floaty little flies for years. But my issues don’t just extend to chocolate, it seems to be all things sweet and sugary.

There have been countless articles which proclaim that chocolate is “more addictive than cocaine” or other similar statements.  And whilst I can’t confirm whether that’s true or not, I do know one thing.  Sugar’s damn addictive,  and I need to STAY AWAY.  Over the last few years, I’ve gone on health kicks – giving up all things sugary in one go (and becoming moody as hell in the process!), juice detoxes  (lost lots of weight, felt amazing but didn’t/couldn’t keep up the next few weeks of clean eating)…and inevitably giving up and finding myself at the bottom of a packet of haribo.

Not good.

So, over the next few months, I’m trying to cut refined sugar out of my diet and replace it with healthier things.  Hopefully I’ll try some new recipes on the way, and perhaps even review them on here.  Anything to keep myself motivated!

As phase 1, I’ve been setting myself small goals of giving things up. Starting with chocolate. I pretty much decided to do this on a whim, and was surprised at how easy it was to smash my 10, 25 and 45 day targets! Baby steps…bur 70’s my next goal. I want to keep a track of my process on this blog, partly as a self-motivational tool and partly as a motivation for anyone else who happens to stumble across this. Next to tackle are the sweets and the sugary drinks. Goodbye caramel macchiatos, goodbye diet coke. I probably won’t miss you as much as I think I will!

Until next time!

L x

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Taking a moment. (TW: mental health issues)

Oh my goodness.  In the grand scheme of twitter, 700+ retweets isn’t that many.  In the grand scheme of my twitter…that’s pretty bloomin’ viral.

I have never written a post with a trigger warning before.  I don’t even know if that’s how you trigger warning a post (please tell me if it’s not, I’m still learning!) but I just felt like I had to…say something.

I posted this tweet yesterday, and I was absolutely overwhelmed with the response:

The obvious answer is that it’s already taken too many, and there’s so much I could add to the conversation – and want to add to the conversation…but I want to take my time to construct that post.   It’s a very difficult subject, and one that I don’t want to approach recklessly.

So, for now I’ll leave a video that someone sent me in response to that tweet, and a few numbers that might be helpful to someone should they stumble upon this post.  I really, really hope it does.  As Faye said, it’s time to talk.

Samaritans:  08457 90 90 90
Mind: 0300 123 3393  and lots of helpful info at http://www.mind.org.uk/
Childline: 0800 1111

On regrets.

The thing about life is that with every passing day, week, month and year, you can accumulate knowledge and experiences that pave the way to where you end up next. The only problem is the people you meet and the things you see can easily lead you to wondering if could have turned out a different way.

7 and a half years ago (urk), I followed my heart to music college. At the time it was exactly what I wanted to do, but a few years later, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. And now, the further I get into the blogosphere and the….vlogosphere (!?), the more I wish I had started this when I was 18. But who’s to say that if I’d done that then, I would be where I am now? For all I know, I could have tens of thousands of hits or followers…or I could have decided that it wasn’t for me.

I always used to say I had no regrets – for a while that changed. But recently I’ve come full circle and realised that my 18 year old self was right all along.

Regrets are pointless – all they do is hold us back. It’s far better, and far more enjoyable to live in the moment. It’s never “too late” – we’re never “too old” to try something different or learn something new.

So, next time you think “I should have done this a year ago” then follow that up with “…but better late than never.”

Never mind the resolutions | My 2014.

It’s that time of year when every blogger and vlogger puts up their new years’ resolutions – but I kind of did that in my last post.  You know, the one where I said “LET’S DO THIS!!!” and promptly….didn’t post again for over a month.  Whoops.  At this stage, my blog runs the risk of becoming an endless list of “things I’m definitely going to do….one day…soon…” – a pattern that I think lots of us find ourselves in.

We always spend the last days of one year and the first days of the next thinking about what we’re going to do, but we rarely think about what we’ve actually done, the things we’ve achieved and the things we’re proud of.  So here’s my list – a few highlights from my past year that I’m proud of.  Perhaps it’s slightly self-indulgent, but sometimes we need to pat ourselves on the back! So here goes…

In February, I went back to my old school for a careers evening – I sat behind my own little table with my name label and talked to an endless stream of 15-16 year olds about my career so far, my university qualifications and everything else in between. And yes, I had a lot of “Do you know Danisnotonfire?” and “Have you ever met Jack and Finn?”  (incidentally, the answers are ‘yes, he’s very tall’ and ‘once, briefly’) but amongst those, there were lots of girls (and a couple of boys) who genuinely wanted to hear what I had to say. I half-joked afterwards that it was the most popular I’d ever been within those walls!

I joined a gym and realised I actually enjoy exercising in my lunch break at work. I bought myself a corset and a Vivienne of Holloway dress – two things that have been on my wish list for quite some time now.

I’ve made a fantastic group of friends, been to loads of really exciting events and even organised a few myself (including a party for ChannelFlip’s YouTubers at the Harry Potter Studio Tour for Halloween!) Going round the studios after hours followed by some overly-energetic dancing to the cheesiest music possible is definitely one of the high points of my year.

#Twinmas was a project I worked on with my v.good friends Niki and Sammy and Lizzy – we spent days (and evenings) getting everything together – a live audience, a full set, live G+ hangout…the list goes on and on. It was a massive success, and something we’re all very proud of.

I’ve kickstarted my creativity again – with this blog, and with my YouTube channel – yes, only two videos so far, but it’s a start. And I’ve even got my violin out again.  My friend Luke even gave me the world’s nicest shout-out in the fabulous TenEighty magazine’s “YouTuber Picks”. You can go and read that here if you really want to…

And as for a massive “I was there” moment? I spent a day getting a few people organised to be in opening shots of this year’s YouTube Rewind. And then, on a very quiet Friday afternoon, I popped out of the office and went along to that video shoot to see how it was all going. The video itself has had 75 million views so far, and to say I was even a tiny part of that is huge. I even managed to (accidentally) make it into the official behind the scenes video  (top marks if you can spot me. Hint – I’m wearing yellow!), and of course a few of my friends’ own vlogs from the day too. Whoops?

Above all, I’ve come to realise that life is what you make of it – I could make excuses for weeks, months, years…you get the idea. But ultimately, if I want to do something then all I need to do is make a start.

So here’s my one New Years’ Resolution:  keep a note of (at least) one thing from each month that I’m really proud of. And then, on the 31st December 2015, I’ll post my own personal “rewind”.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you have had a fabulous 2014, and I hope that 2015 is even better.

L xx

Let’s do this!

Last week I had a sudden surge of creativity, and I did something I’ve been meaning to do for some time: I filmed a vlog. So, I now have a blog, a YouTube channel and a strange desire to get them both going.  All I need is another day or two in the week….preferably a day or two of weekend!

In some ways, my finally facing my fears (see my earlier post on creativity) and getting round to filming a vlog seems to have marked the start of some kind of transitionary period.  I suddenly had the urge to go through all my old things that I’ve stored up and hidden away in drawers and on shelves and start throwing things away.

I found old photos, letters, postcards…a print out of a slightly embarrassing MSN Messenger conversation that I had intended to give to my best friend, but that apparently never made it out of my house – and other things of actual sentimental value that will go back into my drawers and filed away until the next time I feel like going back into the good bits of my past.  I also found lots of junk.  Bad memories that I’d hidden away, things linked to places I wasn’t so fond of, and clearing them out was surprisingly cathartic.

It took me hours to just go through a small amount of space, and there’s so much more to do, but it feels so liberating to have some empty space in my room ready to be filled with new memories, new ideas and new projects.

That was all unexpectedly cheesy….

So – to the new projects.  I’ve set myself a few goals for the next year (?) – some are personal (and definitely not ones to go up on the internet for all and sundry to read!).  Others are…still personal, but slightly more shareable.

And so, in an attempt to actually make myself get up and DO these damn things, here they are:

  • Learn a little bit more about photography (and maybe get a better camera…)
  • Re-learn German. And learn some Greek.
  • Get back into creating music and ACTUALLY SHARE IT WITH PEOPLE!
  • Build this blog into something slightly more coherent and structured
  • Sort out the jumble of wires that’s at my feet. Seriously, those microphone cables won’t untangle themselves…..
If you’ve read this far…get back to what you’re supposed to be doing and stop procrastinating. And until next time, when I’ll write a slightly less rambly post…here’s my first attempt at a vlog.

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Friend or foe?

Sometimes, it takes a few bad friends to spot the good ones.  The bad friends aren’t always obviously bad, and maybe sometimes they don’t mean to be bad friends. They just aren’t…good friends.

Eloquent, eh?

Let’s step back for a minute. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and it’s something I’ve struggled to put into words. But here goes. The ‘bad friends’ I’m talking about aren’t the sort to intentionally hurt you. They tell you they’re your friend above all else. They value you, they support you in your successes…but when you need them? They’re just not quite there.  They’re the ones who would love to spend some time with you, they really would, but there’s just never the time, they’re just too busy. And occasionally, just occasionally, you wonder if they’re really and truly being honest with you.

The real diamonds are the ones who keep on pestering you to meet up with them, get on skype, catch up, even if you’re being useless at getting staying in touch. The ones who can communicate with you purely via emojis or facebook stickers. The ones who, with one look, can communicate exactly what they think. And if you need them? Well, they might not drop everything, but they’ll usually make sure they’ve at least got one hand free to grab hold of yours.

But above all, the best of friends are the ones who hear you complain time and time again about the people who never show up. They may be the same stories over and over, but they’ll always sit and listen, and wait patiently for everything to be ok again.

I like to see the best in people, and I can’t quite believe that the people who call themselves our friends realise they’re being quite so unreliable.  I’m sure I’ve been the ‘bad friend’ on more than one occasion, and so I’m taking a moment to check myself.

If only others would do the same.

Creativity is hard

Creativity is hard.

There are so many things to get caught up on, to trip yourself up with and to use as an excuse to just hide behind Netflix and ignore the bit of your brain that’s trying desperately to kick into gear. I know this because it’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the past 2 and a half years.

I left university (well, music college) with an undergraduate degree in 2012 after 4 years studying composition – that is writing and creating music. Rewind to 2007 and I was a fresh-faced, enthusiastic 18 year old starting off on what I thought was going to be a journey towards writing film music and eventually seeing my name on The Big Screen. But skip forwards again to 2012, and I’d become somewhat dissolutioned with the idea.

I’ve spent the last two years essentially fighting with my own thoughts, with what seems like one half of my head saying “go on, do something creative, you know you want to….” whilst the other half sits there asking “Why? Who’s going to care?”. And so, before this turns into some great sob story, to the present. I’ve decided to say a big, resounding  “f*** it!!” to the reasons why not to start being creative again, because what better answer is there to “why” than “why not?!”

I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most amazingly creative and motivated people I’ve ever met in the last year or so, and as far as I can tell they all upload, blog and post because…well, why not?

Creativity is hard. But if it was easy it wouldn’t be anything special, would it?