I’m here

I love writing. I have always loved writing. Until I started blogging, I had given up practicing and honing this skill many years ago; abandoning it somewhere around the end of my school career. I never had an outlet, and I never had a reason to try.

Even though very few people read my blog posts, I still live in fear that they are inadequate, I am crippled by self doubt. I chose not to tell anyone that I was starting a blog (with the exception of my long suffering boyfriend, who has been forced to read countless drafts of posts and short stories while I stomp round the house moaning that my writing is crap or self indulgent… but that is another story, for another day).

Not telling anyone about my blog (and Instagram) was my way of keeping myself safe; not having to put my name to a article, not admitting to trying, and equally – not admitting to failing.

However, apparently this doesn’t mean you still can’t be trolled. Someone will always find out who you are. Trolls, of course, are offered the same level of anonymity as I am on the internet. They can say mean or hurtful things without consequence or ramification. They don’t have to admit to being insecure, they don’t have to admit to failing.

The messages I received from my troll made me feel uncomfortable, uncertain, and unleashed a deep sinking feeling in my stomach, which I could not shake for days at a time. It made me retreat. It put me off writing. It put me off trying.

But then I realised: that’s what they want, they want to break me. They want me to be miserable too.

I blocked the troll. I picked myself up. I had my little support system around me.

I took some time out to explore writing in other ways. I wrote a short story. It might be garbage, but I tried. I entered a writing competition. It might be the worst thing they’ve ever read, but I tried.

I’ve realised that I CAN tell people what I’m up to. And yes some will laugh, or think it’s lame. But I’m still trying. I’m still standing.

Other people may have similar fears whilst they’re learning how to play golf, or training to run a marathon. No one would think to laugh at them for trying, for learning. But still, they’re riddled with the same self doubt, fear of failure and the fear of ridicule. They’re common feelings. They’re all part of being human.

I have a long way to go, but I believe by standing up and trying, trying, trying, I’m taking the first step towards gaining confidence.

So, I’m here!

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Proud

Proud;

1. Feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities or possessions, or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.

2. Having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance.

The two meanings of proud seem mutually incompatible. How can it be that the descriptive word for such a positive act (achieving self satisfaction) can also be the same word used for something so negative (describing arrogance)?

The unwritten rule in British society is that you’re generally OK to celebrate your achievements – but in strict moderation. There’s a fine line between a socially acceptable level of celebration and simply showing off. I wonder whether here in the UK the acceptable level of pride is far less than in other parts of the world. Our tipping point on the bragging/celebrating success scale seems unusually reserved.

We’re taught from an early age to play down our successes. “Don’t boast, it isn’t polite”, “Jessica won’t like you if you show off”. Feeling a sense of pride in our achievements isn’t part of our culture.

So, when applying for a job, writing a CV or generally carrying out any task which involves bigging ourselves up we struggle massively. We’ve lost the ability to outline our key successes and paint ourselves in the most positive of lights. It’s all too easy to focus on the negatives.

Maybe it’s time to turn things around. It’s time to be more positive. Maybe we could all be a bit more Heather Small and ask ourselves “what have I done today to make myself feel proud?”…

#12daysofblogandbeyond #blogandbeyond #proud #Aberdeenbloggers #UKbloggers #Scottishblogger #Scottishbloggers #blog #blogger #lifestyleblogger #Aberdeen #Scotland  #thehappynow #girlboss #happy #positive

Inspire

I recently attended a ring making workshop. The workshop was hosted by Aimi of SilverZoo (who makes stunning handmade silver jewellery) in the studio space of the stylish (but still quirky) Geek Bothy, which is in Kemnay.

Needless to say, I loved the class immensely. I savour the chance to make things and be creative. Getting to make something which is both practical and beautiful is even better.

There were 8 attendees at the workshop, which was perfect, as there were enough of us to start a little chit-chat, but not too many so as to slow down the class when we required to take turns at completing particular tasks. The ever patient Aimi kept us on the straight and narrow throughout, and even made us a wee cup of tea as we waited for everyone to arrive.

After choosing whether to make 2 wide rings, or 3 thinner ‘stacking rings’ (I went with the stacking ring option), we started off with some basic calculations in order to work out the length of silver wire needed for each ring. There were groans of “But I’m not good at maths” and gasps of “Can I use a calculator?” from around the room. However, as you’d expect from a studio full of competent women, we sailed through the ‘sums’ section and straight onto the measuring and cutting (being sure not to injure ourselves with the the snips).

We learnt to file, match the edges, and form the ring ready for soldering. The soldering element was one of the most satisfying parts of the process; fluxing the join then popping a small square of silver over it before using the blowtorch to evenly heat the ring and allow the silver flake to flood across the connection. This formed a secure joint. The ring was next dunked in cold water to cool it down, and then placed in a warm acid bath for a couple of minutes to return its shine.

The rings were roughly filed to remove any large chunks of flux, then prised over a metal mandrel and hit with a plastic hammer to give the ring a lovely even circular shape. After shaping came more filing, followed by sanding, and then eventually polishing.

We had the option to create textures on our rings using the various patterned hammer heads which Aimi had collected. I opted for one textured ring (using a hammer face with deep set diagonal lines), then left one round-wired ring and one square-wired ring as plain but polished. When worn together they look like sister rings; part of a set, but each unique.

The couple of hours I spent in the studio that Saturday has inspired me to spend more time making things, and ultimately learning new crafts and skills. The happy glow I walked out of the Geek Bothy with lasted all weekend. Even now, every time someone asks about my rings, I beam with pride, like a 7 year old showing off their latest masterpiece.

It’s never too late to be inspired.

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Ultimate guide to prepping for GBBO Ep1

  1. Buy snacks. It’s top of the list for a reason… you will end up hungry and craving sugar. Unfortunately, this is just a fact we have to accept. For bonus points, bake your own cake in advance (but prepare to feel inadequate, as the bakers produce edible masterpieces on-screen).
  2. Research the contestants and then swiftly choose your favourite based upon their 3 sentence back story and photograph alone. It’s shallow, totally unfounded and you’ll probably choose the contestant whose life most closely resembles your own, but at least you’ll have someone to cheer for from the outset. Bios for each of the contestants can be found at the GBBO instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/britishbakeoff
  3. Book-out the living room between 7.50pm and 9pm. You will require complete and unrestricted access to both the TV and sofa, so it is safer just to claim the room for yourself. Channel hopping in the advert breaks is also strictly forbidden, for fear of missing a single moment of the action.
  4. Taking this a step further, from 7pm onwards, start to remove all potential distractions. This means feed the dog, put the kids to bed, close the curtains, send the husband to the shed (and no I don’t care if it’s cold and getting dark) – whatever it takes dammit!
  5. With 8pm looming, change into PJs and slippers. Transform the snuggliest blanket in the house into a super hero cape for extra coziness. Please note: bras are prohibited… they stifle the joy.
  6. Boil the kettle and make a nice cup or tea/coffee/hot chocolate with mini marshmallows/Ovaltine (if that’s your bag?!). Remember to swoosh your blanket cape behind you as you race across the kitchen between the fridge and the mug tree.
  7. Gather your snacks / hot beverage of choice and park your bum on the sofa. Open your mind to the world of innuendos, Hollywood handshakes and Toksvig/Fielding quirky comedy. Embrace the familiarity of the 3 challenge format and star baker award. It’s time to welcome GBBO back into your life.
  8. Discussions start at 9pm. Bring any leftover biscuits pls.

#GBBO #GreatBritishBakeOff #snacks #ultimateguide #Easydoughsy #Blog #joy #comfort #cake #Ep1