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May's #LittleLoves

I've missed doing my Little Loves posts every week now that this is a monthly link-up. I'm actually struggling to remember all the little things that have been making me happy in May. I think I definitely need to keep track of the things I've read and watched throughout the month before I do the next one!

If you read my last blog post, you'll already know that May has been a very busy month for me. I've finished all my Masters assignments, except for the dissertation, and I'm in the process of moving home from university. There are lots of changes happening in my life and I'm feeling excited and a little bit nervous about it all. Though this month has been filled with essay-writing and packing, there has also been lots of sunshine and time spent with friends, which makes me look forward to summer so much.

A Little Life Update

I've been awfully quiet over here for a few weeks so I thought I'd write a little update about what's been going on with me lately. I can finally sit down and focus on my blog again, because this morning I handed in all my final essays for my Masters. Well... there's still the small matter of my dissertation left to deal with, but all the work for my other modules is done. When I started the Spring term in February, I felt so overwhelmed by all the work that I needed to do. I knew that before the end of May I needed to write an annotated bibliography and an essay for my film module, and complete 100 hours on a work placement, compile a portfolio, write a reflective essay, and do a research essay for another module. It felt impossible. But I've done it, and I'm so proud of myself. I think it's ok for me to say that. I don't want to stand up on a stage shouting about my achievements, but I'm allowing myself a pat on the back for managing to get all the work done.

Now that I've finished my taught modules at university, I'm going to be moving home from Sheffield. I'm sad to be leaving behind the city that's become home over the past five years, and all the people I've met here, but it will be so nice to be closer to my family and friends. The big task for the next few weeks is to move out of my little flat, and reluctantly unpin all my posters from the walls and box up my belongings. Living alone for the past two years has been a valuable experience and I've dealt with the inevitable loneliness, but also thoroughly enjoyed having my own space.

All in all, I am feeling the happiest I have for a while. The relief at having my essays finished is immense and it will be so nice to have everything in one place, rather than split between home and university. I can't believe I'm finally coming to the end of education after about twenty years. I've also had some very exciting news about a new job, but I'll talk about that another day. Things right now are very good, which always makes me panic and wait for things to go wrong, because that's the way I am. I'm going to try and enjoy this feeling though, instead of worrying about how long it will last.

Afternoon Tea & Discovering Podcasts #LittleLoves

You might have noticed that there was no Little Loves post on here last week, and that's because we had to say goodbye to the most special dog and the weekend was taken up with an awful lot of heartbreak. These posts are here to help me focus on the tiny good moments though, so I made an effort to see the positives this week, despite the little four-legged hole that has been left in my heart. The good moments included a lovely afternoon tea with my mum at Houghwood Golf Club, a night of getting drunk with some of my best friends and a cinema date with Geraint. Here's what else I've loved this week...

An End To Bullying

I am being bullied.

There is a girl who puts me down no matter how hard I try at something. She scrutinises my appearance whenever she sees me. She calls me fat, ugly, useless, annoying, weird and stupid. She knocks my confidence just as I am starting to feel good about myself. She tells me the things that everyone else is whispering about me behind my back.

That girl is me.

I am twenty-three years old and I bully myself. I have gone through life never feeling good enough, always wanting to be thinner, smarter, funnier, kinder, more popular. I brush off compliments and dwell on the tiniest criticisms, I frown at myself in the mirror instead of looking at all the things there are to like about myself. I put myself down constantly, in a way I would never dream of doing to anyone else. I don't know why I do it. I don't know why it is so hard for me to feel happy and accepting of the person I am and the body that I'm in. I have a loving family, wonderful friends and a supportive boyfriend. None of these people give me any reasons to believe the things that I tell myself. I am the only one who feeds my negative beliefs. If one person does something that upsets me, and ten people are kind to me, I will focus on the one who treated me badly. My mindset is geared towards self-hatred, with the slightest tap of a button sending it full steam ahead. I find it difficult to rise above negativity and be kind to myself.

But I've decided to try and put a stop to it. I won't let myself be my own worst enemy anymore. I'm going to look in the mirror and focus on the things I find beautiful, instead of the things I find ugly. I'm going to nourish my body and care for myself better, instead of neglecting myself because I don't feel worthy of self-love. I want to show myself the respect that I deserve. I'm sure it's going to be difficult, but I'm writing this as a reminder to myself that it's time for things to change. Every day I want to make an effort to love myself a little more.

My friend Rosie took this photo one day when we went to the beach, but I didn't like it because I thought I looked fat. I'm posting it now, because that day was full of happiness and there's no sense in dwelling on my own warped insecurities anymore.

Stopping To Smell The Flowers #LittleLoves

This week has been a lovely mixture of working at Grimm & Co. and having a few date nights with Geraint at the cinema, but by the end of the week I felt a little bit overwhelmed and exhausted. Yesterday, I went to an event for young writers which I hoped would inspire me to start working on the story idea I've been thinking of for a while, and maybe give me some advice for getting a career in publishing as well. I went to the event on my own, which I didn't think would be an issue, but I ended up feeling quite lonely and isolated and I left the event early. Being surrounded by so many strangers and comparing myself to them as a writer made me feel tiny and insignificant. When I got home, I had a little cry and Geraint listened to me complaining about how inadequate I was for about ten minutes before he told me to put my shoes on and took me for a walk. We went to the botanical gardens again, the sun was shining and the streets were full of people smiling and drinking and it felt like being on holiday. We sat on a bench and I thought about how many people there are in the world and questioned what was actually special about me. I felt quite hopeless. So we wandered through the trees and I petted a beautiful dog, we fed nuts to squirrels and I stopped to smell the flowers for a while. Being in nature brought me out of my own head and I focussed on the beauty around me instead. Here's what else I've loved this week...

Tabby Teas Cat Cafe

Last week me and Geraint went to Tabby Teas cat cafe for the very first time. I've wanted to go ever since I first heard that a cat cafe was opening in Sheffield, so it was a long time coming, and it was definitely a new experience. Having cats jumping up on to the table and trying to get a sip of our coffee was strange, but I'm glad we went because It's something I've always wanted to do. Me and Geraint are both very much 'dog people', but I don't discriminate when it comes to cuddly animals. I was a particular fan of this little tabby called Sausage. 

Book Signings & Botanical Gardens #LittleLoves

What a lovely week. I've been at Grimm & Co. again most days to help with the Easter holiday activities, but Thursday was extra special. We had a visit from Abi Elphinstone, who writes children's books, and Geraint came along with me to see Grimm & Co. for the first time. It's such a magical place so I couldn't wait to share it with him because I talk about it so much already. Seeing someone else discover all the little wonders inside is a wonderful experience. 

The talk from Abi Elphinstone was so inspiring and interesting. The children all loved it but so did the adults and it spurred me on to start writing the book that I've had brewing in my head for a while. All of Abi's books were on sale too so I picked up a copy of The Dreamsnatcher and she kindly signed it for me. I can't wait to read it, I've really got into reading children's books lately.

After the book signing, me and Geraint went to Tabby Teas cat cafe for the first time (I've got a whole blog post about that coming up though!) and then we had a lovely walk in the botanical gardens. The sun was properly shining for the first time in ages and we definitely made the most of the day. I love Sheffield's botanical gardens so much and Geraint was very interested in the bear pit. 

Here's what else I've loved this week...