As some of you might know, creativity can be illusive - it appears that the more we go searching for it, the harder it is to grasp. We'll have days where everything we've taken photographs of, or attempted to write about comes off a bit forced, or samey and your brain isn't lighting up quite how you'd expect it to. This is natural; it's natural for our work to come in bursts and waves, especially as a blogger.
If you've become a regular reader here at sheintheknow.co.uk, you may have noticed that I post on Monday's and Friday's, but this doesn't come without the occasional creative funk and as frustrating and as stressful as this can be at times, I have to simply learn to move on.
So, here are a few self-help tactics to get you out of that creative rut:
1. CLEANSE YOUR WORK-SPACE:
You've got a few deadlines on the horizon, but your creativity has decided it's going to take the week off and you've just about had enough - we've all been there. Even though you might feel as though you need to push yourself to focus, taking a break to cleanse your work-space can be one of the best things you do. I find having a clean and well-organized work-space helps me get things moving. I mean I've just found notes from three years ago in my bottom drawer, so it's about time I did a bit of a deep-clean.
2. LOOK FOR INSPIRATION:
We all look to sources for inspiration; such as Pinterest or Instagram, because they give us a window into the outside world and allow us to be inspired by what others are seeing and doing around us. It's important that we don't narrow our focus and leave ourselves feeling deflated because we're seeing the same thing over and over again. Remember to look elsewhere for inspiration; such as books or events that are on-going in our own lives - perhaps spending time with family and friends will inspire you to think of new topics.
3. REMEMBER TO DISCONNECT:
It's important that we disconnect from social media sometimes, to make sure that we're really looking after ourselves. Are we getting enough exercise? Are we eating the right amount of foods? When was the last time we had a tall glass of water? If you aren't feeling 100%, your brain won't either. Taking some me-time will in effect help top up your creativity reserves - disconnect from the internet for the evening and just go for a walk, or read a book. It will help boost both your mood and productivity. You can read all about how I'm improving my productivity here.
4. DEFINE YOUR MISSION:
As a blogger I like to spend time working out how I want my content to serve you, the reader. I like to think about delivery and topics that are both personal to me, but useful to you. I want my posts to be both helpful and informative, yet humorous in some way. You should define your mission; what are you passionate about? Is it a product or an experience you want to share?
Have you ever been in a creative rut? How did you get out of it?
Now that January is well and truly over with (thank goodness eh?), I thought it would be the perfect time to sit down, with my ginger-nut biscuits and over-sized cup of tea, to have a proper look back over two thousand and sixteen, with a somewhat fresh mind and rationally evaluate it - or at-least make an attempt to.
Two thousand and sixteen for me; was a year of both personal growth and discovery, but it was also one of most testing periods of my life - in-fact that's why I decided to defy tradition in my 'Anti-Bucket List' post on January 2nd. Nonetheless I'm sure at some stage during the course of the year, we all learnt some serious life lessons; from self-love and self-care, to stress management and productivity, but did we really take these lessons into consideration? Will we continue to learn from them in 2017?
Here are 3 life lessons I learnt in 2016:
1. Just Let Go -
People will come and go, friends won't always be on the same page and colleagues you thought you knew, won't actually turn out to be who you originally thought they were. You will want different things and you'll get fed up trying to hold on. You need to learn to 'just let go' and accept that what you've been experiencing over the last few months, will actually contribute to who and what you are now. You'll stop being anxious eventually and you'll start realizing you have the potential to do anything you set your mind to.
2. Don't Let People Define You -
Ever heard that saying 'everything happens for a reason'? it's true - you shouldn't listen to people who are only there to spite you. You need to stop believing what other people are saying and own your strength, be self-loving and self-caring. You'll leave your current job, take some time out and come back fighting. You're a #GIRLBOSS and you're going places - but perhaps you should listen to your gut more often.
3. Be Self-Loving And Self-Motivated -
It'll sound absolutely absurd to you and very cliche, but you'll learn to start self-loving and self-motivating yourself. You'll learn to take better care of your mind and body and you'll start to embrace your uniqueness. You will take control of your life and what happens next. You'll fall in love with writing and you'll use it as a way to reach out to people who are just like you - you are about to become the most determined person you'll ever be.
What life lessons did you learn in 2016?
It's funny how we all assume we should have our shit together by the time we're in our twenties. We'll want to have landed our dream jobs by now, be in a somewhat stable relationship, possibly have our own house - or if you're like me, you'll want a dog you can dress up in human clothing. But, this isn't always the case with some of us and that's okay.
It takes time to realize that things won't just fall into your lap. We'll spend our twenties learning the ins and outs of what will be required of us, we'll struggle to find our feet at times but we'll still manage it and then soon we'll realize that we're never really going to be prepared and we're about to spend the rest of our lives just winging it - oh the joys.
So; to make it look like I'm getting my life together, here are 6 life skills I want to master in my twenties:
1. HOW TO COOK:
Being able to cook a family dinner or even a mid-week spaghetti is an important life skill to master in your twenties - I should know, because Matthew's the chef in our relationship and as far as cooking goes, I'm lucky if I can peel the spuds right. This is why I want to get a few recipes under my belt, I want to experiment more often with my food - no more Pot Noodles or Cheese on toast here! Although in saying this, my Mum did teach me how to whip up a batch of Fifteens and a tray of Rice Crispy Squares - so if you want buns for life, I'm your woman.
2. HOW TO MAKE SMALL TALK:
Please raise your hand, if you've found yourself scrolling through Instagram when you're feeling awkward in a social situation - I can't say this is something I find myself doing quite as frequently, but during College I was damn guilty of it. This is why in my twenties, I want to learn how to spark up an interesting conversation with someone. I want to learn how to make small talk - you'd be surprised what a brave few minutes could do for you.
3. HOW TO SELF-CARE:
In my twenties I want to learn the importance of self-love and self-care. I want to know which foods will nurture my body and which foods won't. I want to learn the importance of exercising daily and how to come to terms with my 'so-called' imperfections. I want to put some time aside for my mental and physical health - actually, I've made a brilliant start, by loosing over half a stone this year already *pats self on back*.
4. LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH CRITICISM AND REJECTION:
Our twenties are a time for exploration and development; whether it be an academic, personal or career choice. It's important that we understand everyone gets rejected and that it's okay. Some things will work out and some things won't - I want to learn how to move forward from this, as a stronger and more determined person than before. I want to learn how to quit dwelling on things that don't really matter.
5. LEARN HOW TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF/MAKE DECISIONS:
Whether it's at work, out with friends or even in the comfort of your own home - you should never let anyone make you feel small. I want to learn how to voice my opinions in a controlled manner, on topics I feel passionately about. I want to learn how to make important life decisions for myself in my twenties.
6. ASPIRATIONS - LEARNING HOW TO HAVE A LONG VIEW:
Writing, or essentially blogging - has been a dream of mine for some time, it's this dream that has continued to push me forward; no matter how many people have told me that it's unrealistic and silly of me to rely on blogging alone. Yes, it may take a few months or even a few years, but anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I need to remind myself that being in my twenties isn't a race and by developing a long view, I'll have the ability to see beyond the immediate set-backs and see them as small detours or rather bumps along the way.
What life skills do you want to master in your 20's?
In January 2016, Matthew and I accomplished what most people think is damn near impossible - we started a long distance relationship. However, I can't say that we are your typical 'LD' couple, we essentially grew up together and were best friends as teenagers, so there was no mistaking I'd ever turn down that 5am Face Time where I became M's girlfriend - I can remember just how excited we both were, it was the beginning of a new chapter for us.
At present Matthew and I live 486 miles away from each-other (that's 10 hours and 7 minutes by car according to Google Maps), so you're probably scratching your head, wondering how on earth there could be any pros when M's in England and I'm living my regular little life back home in Northern Ireland; don't worry I'll get there.
Long distance is definitely not all the shits and giggles it's cracked up to be, it can be hard and it can be very lonely at times, but it's also exhilarating. For instance; Matthew has whisked me off to England on several different occasions and we've even explored Northern Ireland a bit together too - somehow long distance makes us adventurous and more open minded when it comes to trying new things, but it really helps that Matthew and I have mutual interests.
So, I've compiled a list - the pros and cons of long distance:
1. The Test Of Love:
I mean this when I say it, but long distance can be hard work - it's like walking up 60 flights of stairs as an asthmatic and trust me - that is not fun. However it's a great way to test if your partner will be able to deal with you in the long term; I mean it can be pretty difficult to show you love someone when they are 486 miles away from you, but we still do it.
You will never take time for granted again, I can assure you of this. I don't mean jam-packing your day with the most exciting things to do, as nice as that sounds... but I mean really enjoying your time together. For example; Matthew and I love snuggling up on the sofa, so we can binge-watch Modern Family, but we also really enjoy having a good midnight natter about all things life.
Long distance really teaches you the value of good communication. I mean good communication will make anything work; but this doesn't necessarily mean a text every 10 to 20 minutes, or a Face Time every hour. I mean the type of communication where you really connect with each-other. Talk about your aspirations, hopes and dreams as a couple - show interest.
We've all seen people get into relationships and suddenly they disappear from the face of the earth (I'm one of those people), but long distance relationships ensure you remain an individual. Since you can't physically spend all your time with the person you're dating, it's much easier to keep and maintain other relationships you might have.
1. Alone Together:
One of the hardest parts about being in a long distance relationship, is that you aren't physically with the person you are dating. Whilst you are essentially "together", you often aren't. Sure, cooking the same meal and eating it over Face Time sounds adorable, but in reality you'd give an arm and a leg just to be eating from the same pizza box.
2. Network Connectivity Problems:
Technology is a wonderful thing isn't it? - at-least until it stops working. Slow Wi-Fi and Poor Connectivity make this one of the most frustrating parts of dating long distance and I know Matthew will agree. There is nothing like talking to a pixelated version of the person you're dating.
This really depends on how far away you live, but it can get expensive. You've got flights to book, train tickets to buy - never mind the cost of petrol. On-top of this you have dates, groceries to buy in, maybe a new top to get - basically the entire visit just ends up being one big expensive date, one that you probably can't afford.
4. Saying Goodbye:
As much as I adore Matthew coming home, I hate the concept of having to say goodbye a week later. It leaves me feeling deflated, when I should be happy my partner's at home. According to my Mum we already act like an old married couple - but you know what... I'm actually okay with that. Who wouldn't be upset that their partner is leaving for another 2 months?
Now, I certainly don't want to tell anyone what to do. This is just a list of things I've pieced together, in order to compare and contrast the positives and the negatives of dating long distance. This is by no means a definitive guide or recommendation, all relationships are hard - long distance just happens to be a different kind of hard...
Have you been in a long distance relationship before? What was it like for you?
If you've become a regular reader of sheintheknow.co.uk, you'll know that on Friday I talked all about 'The Perfect Valentine's Day Gift' for her, or at-least what I assumed would be the perfect Valentine's Day gift. So, keeping in theme with this post - I want to talk to you about Marc Jacobs Decadence perfume and how I feel it would also make a great addition to the Valentine's Day gifts for her list - hint, hint Matthew.
Decadence by Marc Jacobs epitomizes the cool, unexpected contradiction of classic and irreverence of which he is best renowned.
Marc Jacobs Decadence was developed by Master Perfumer Annie Buzantian in collaboration with Marc Jacobs and Ann Gottlieb. The fragrance itself has a luxurious, thick, woody scent about it - with top notes of Italian Plum, Saffron and Iris. At the heart is a bouquet of rich Bulgarian Rose, Lush Orris and creamy nuances of Jasmine Sambac. Liquid Amber, Vetiver and warm Papryus Woods compose the dry down. I find that Decadence is a much more grown up scent than what I'm used to and feel it would be best suited to those who prefer a much more earthy fragrance than that of a floral/fruity aroma.
Marc certainly didn't disappoint here, with a show-stopping, revolutionary design - a somewhat clever nod I'd say to Marc Jacobs' fashion aesthetic, with his iconic handbag shape being reinvented into a bottle with a luxe gold chain and black silk tassel. Not only has it become a go-to fragrance, but the bottle ensures a statement piece of decor in any ladies room - a collection which I am swiftly adding to, as I indulge in what appears to be my fifth bottle to date.
According to Marc Jacobs, "A girl chooses to be decadent, she is not just decadent". Let's say it's a good girl, playing bad.
Decadence was launched in 2015.
Have you tried Marc Jacobs Decadence? What were your thoughts?