Learning to Finish What I Start

Neven Krcmarek

I am full of ideas. A week doesn’t go by that I don’t dream up a new creative project or business venture, and I often have my fingers in many pies (both literally and figuratively, if you’re talking about the time when I decided I wanted to open a pie shop…). There are not enough hours in the day for all of the things that I want to do, experience and learn. But, despite being full to the brim with plans, goals and dreams, I rarely execute them – and when I do, I rarely finish what I start. I have a whole box full of half-finished knitting projects, a Google Drive full of sentences and plots from stories and blog posts that never got written and a never ending to do list with items that have never gotten off the ground. I have talked about starting a podcast and a supper club, new blogs and websites, and all sorts of other things – but before I start anything I have to learn to finish. 

I think my problems with finishing my projects are many; for starters, I am a perfectionist so I am often afraid to start or get too caught up in the middle of the project when it’s not going exactly how I imagined. In my head, my supper club is a triumph, my podcast a raging success and my craft projects perfectly executed. Of course, you can’t get to success if you don’t start in the first place or if you give up halfway through. Logically, I know that, but I get stuck in my own head at the crucial moment and bottle it, once again.

I also have a short attention span, and I always find that creativity begets more creativity so it is when I am in the middle of a project or venture that I have even *more* ideas and the new ideas are so shiny and exciting that the current one gets abandoned in favour of pastures new. So I never give myself the opportunity to really grow and improve, or the satisfaction of a final product. I have a tendency to take too much onto my plate, so each thing doesn’t get the attention it deserves and so takes much longer than it needs to, which doesn’t help with that short attention span. I get greedy, imagining myself fulfilled by a plethora of creative pursuits, surrounded by the fruits of my labour (most of which are praise-based, I won’t lie to you…), when it would be far more sensible to take on one thing at a time and really master it before moving on. 

Over the past month, I have thought about giving up this blogging challenge on many occasions. Blogging is probably the only thing I have really stuck at for any length of time; I am a blogger right down to my bones and it comes naturally to me to type out a few hundred words on whatever I’m thinking or doing at that moment. It is a quick endeavour, when done imperfectly, and so it provides that satisfaction and feeling of achievement that I strive for in other pursuits. But even then, I faltered every time it became a little bit tricky – when I didn’t have a post lined up for the following day and a full roster of activities with Benjamin making it difficult to sit down and type something up. There have been moments where I’ve lacked inspiration and even more where I’ve lacked the confidence. I like to think I’m pretty good at the words part of blogging, but blogging has moved on so much from when that was the most important part and there are so many other bits where my skills or execution are lacking. I am determined, for once, however, to finish what I have started and I am learning, slowly, the benefits of doing so.

With just a few days left in October, I am looking forward to the breathing space that will allow me to see other projects through that have been hanging over me for months, if not years. I am annoyed at myself for not coming to this conclusion earlier, because I have so much less free time and opportunity to pursue my greatest plans with Benjamin needing so much of my attention, but maybe that is a good thing as it will focus my mind on those that I really want to finish and let the others fall by the wayside. Watch this space, my friends – I’ve got a few things up my sleeve… 

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Thoughts on my Post-Baby Body

Thoughts On My Post-Baby Body // Amy Elizabeth

I fit into my old jeans but not into my old dresses or shirts. I’ve always favoured the stretchy denim. My old bras won’t even do up. My stomach is soft now, my belly button stretched, my skin marked by purple lines. I am torn, always, between respect for my body and everything it’s done and dismay at the ways it is now marked indelibly by our ordeal. Maybe my stomach will still shrink, it probably will, but I will be forever changed. How could I not be? I grew a human, and not a small one. 

There are two common threads when it comes to the post-baby body chat. It seems you are either expected to hate your new shape, punishing it with buggy boot camps and bemoaning tight waistbands after months of maternity leggings, or you’re supposed to not care, so in awe are you at the feat your body has performed. Am I allowed to admit that I sit somewhere in between? 

I miss my old body. It was a good body. We had a pretty easy relationship, which is more than most people can say. I have always been lucky that I fit the mould when it comes to societally-approved body shapes, and without too much effort. I could have lived happily with that body forever. It was easy-ish to dress (short legs notwithstanding) and it was healthy, for the most part. 

Thoughts On My Post-Baby Body // Amy Elizabeth

I don’t mind my new body. There are probably plenty of people for whom this body is their ideal. That’s probably true for everyone, actually, now I come to think of it (that their body is the ideal body for someone else, not that they all think my body is the best body – because it’s pretty average, all things considered). But it doesn’t feel like my body. It looks a bit different in my old clothes. I’m more aware of it, more self-conscious, which I don’t like. I was used to just living in my body, not thinking about it all that much. A privilege for sure, but not one that I wanted to give up.

I don’t like the stretch marks which now cover my stomach; an unwelcome reminder of one of my most unpleasant experiences and a badge of honour for the best thing I’ve ever done. Again, you are either supposed to religiously moisturise them away or wear them as a mark of pride. Again, I sit somewhere in between. I am not ashamed of my body; it did something pretty incredible. But I am also not head over heels with those little purple lines, even if they are a by-product of the thing of which I am most proud. 

It’s only been three months, so I know there are more changes to come. I’d like to get back to where I was before, in attitude if not in shape (although the shape would be nice, too). But me and my body are in it for the long haul, whatever happens… 

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How I Choose Wine

Disclaimer: This post is in association with WinesDirect.com

Other than, you know, having my baby with me, the best part about no longer being pregnant is finally getting to drink wine again. I missed it more than I thought, and having it back in my life is a joy. But, where once a casual night out would mean a good few glasses of wine, I’m a little bit more restricted now. It’s not all that sensible to be hungover when having to get up multiple times in the night and having to entertain a baby all day, so for now it’s quality not quantity that’s driving my wine choices (which is probably for the best).  I’m a relative newbie to the world of wine, and I certainly don’t know half of what there is to know about wine, but here’s how I’m choosing which wines are making the cut right now… 

Get to Know Your Grapes

In my experience, learning about wine is very much a trial and error situation. But, over time, I’ve got to know which grape varieties I like best and which I’m happy to pass over. I’m not generally a Sauvignon Blanc drinker, but give me a Pinot Grigio any day. I like a Rioja of any colour, and when it comes to red I’m all about the Pinot Noir. I’ve recently discovered Viognier, so I’ve been on the lookout for more of that. If I stick to the varieties that I know I like, I don’t tend to be disappointed. 

Look for an Offer 

Whilst I am not drinking all that much wine at the moment, I am also on maternity leave so I can’t be too baller when it comes to spending my money. I’m happy to pay a little bit extra for a bottle that I like, but there are so many offers on wine at any given time that there’s usually no need to stump up the big bucks for something drinkable. Sometimes that means just taking a chance on what’s on offer when I pop across the road to the little Sainsbury’s there, or it may involve a bit more forward planning and checking out the best wine offers online on some of our favourites so we can pop into the appropriate supermarket or place an order. 

Read the Signs 

In supermarkets, there are often little notes on the tickets for each wine that tell you about the flavour and which foods pair well with that particular bottle. The Pinot Noir we picked up from Aldi on Sunday said it was good with lamb, which is exactly what we were having for lunch so that was that sorted! If you don’t know what you fancy but you know what you’re eating, that’s a good place to start. 

Take Recommendations 

There are plenty of people who know more about wine than me, so I’m happy to take a recommendation – whether it’s from your friendly neighbourhood sommelier or a friend. If you like what they recommend, make a note and you’ll know for next time. There are a lot of good bars in Leeds that have more unusual wine lists and are happy to make a recommendation for you – try Ham & Friends and downstairs at Pintura for starters! 

When In Doubt, Go For Fizz 

You really can’t go wrong with a bottle of Prosecco. If you’re really not sure what else to buy, especially if you’re heading to a friend’s house or a party, then fizz will always go down a treat! 

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5 Podcasts to Listen To This Autumn

5 Podcasts to Listen to This Autumn // Amy Elizabeth

I am a podcast obsessive. I sometimes think about starting a podcast about podcasts, because I just love them so much. I am religious about listening to all of the ones I subscribe to, which means that I am still working my way through episodes from July (insert cry-laughing emoji here). But, I can’t resist when I find a new good one, so I am doomed to be forever behind. Here’s a few of my new favourites which are perfect for upcoming cosy nights in, and days spent bossing it in the spirit of the new school year. 

Hello Friend

I listen to a lot of podcasts by bloggers, and this one by Bethany Rutter really stands out as something different. As per the title, this podcast is just conversations with her friends – and she has some damn interesting friends. From street food traders to booksellers to feminist, body-positive comedians, I was super stoked to have been introduced to all of these rad new people via this podcast. Bethany has a really lovely interview manner, and these are exactly the conversations I love to have with my friends – a mixture of joy and whimsy with serious topics and political chat. If you want something to cosy up with on autumn evenings, this is perfect.  

What She Said 

Autumn is the perfect time for new creative projects, and if you’ve ever thought about getting into blogging (or maybe getting more serious about your blog if you’ve already got one!) then this is the podcast for you. Lucy interviews interesting women from around the blogging world (particularly travel blogging, if that’s your jam – although the lessons are useful for any kind of blogger) and gets them to share their wisdom and top tips. I really loved the episodes with Sophie Cliff and Siobhan Watts but I’ve found something useful from every episode I’ve listened to so far, and now that I have a little bit more brain space for blogging, I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned! 

My Favourite Murder

Autumn is a time for spooky stories, and whilst I’m not sure this podcast will give you chills, it is packed full of true crime tales that are real life horror stories. It’s also surprisingly funny, given that it’s also about gruesome murders most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, they keep it serious when it comes to the actual murder part and are always respectful of the victims in every case, but the chat in between between the presenters (Karen and Georgia) is what keeps me coming back for more. If you like your true crime with a side order of catchphrases, in jokes and cat chat then this is the podcast for you. 

Made of Human

I want to say the best thing about this podcast is Sofie Hagen’s voice, which is just wonderful, but that’s not true (although her voice is warm and delightful). It’s not true because there are so many best things about this podcast: the list of guests, the slightly off-the-wall questions, and the friendly conversations that cover everything from feminism & fat positivity to comedy and dating. This podcast is all about connection and making you feel like you’re not alone, which is a lovely thing, don’t you think? 

Never Before with Janet Mock 

Intimate and in-depth conversations are the order of the day during this season, and Janet Mock delivers some incredible ones in this new podcast. I love Janet Mock and her no-holds-barred interviewing style, which reveals more about both the host and the guest. Plus her list of guests is seriously impressive; from Lena Dunham to Joanne the Scammer, you’ll definitely learn something from this podcast, as well as getting to know some huge cultural figures just that little bit better. 

You might also like: 
5 Podcasts to Listen to This Autumn // Amy Elizabeth

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I Am A Mother Now

 I am a mother now, and my body bears the scars. I will never look the same, marked by stretch marks as I am. I will never feel the same, knowing what I know. My emotions have risen to the surface, tears swelling at the slightest provocation. I am raw, an exposed nerve, my heart worn on the outside now.

I am a mother now, and never won’t be. You are mine and I am yours. There has never been anything else so permanent in my life. Even when I am gone, I will be your mother. For better, or for worse, there is no turning back. 

I am a mother now, but I am also a wife, a friend, a sister, a colleague, a daughter. Life didn’t stop the moment you arrived, but everything changed. I am a mother first, and everything else second, for now. But even as I step (stumble) into this new role, those others don’t go away. They make me better able to be your mother, and every day I realise that more and more. It takes a village, baby boy, and we have a good one. 

I am a mother now, but I am still me. In fact, I feel more myself than I have in ages. Maybe I am more myself than I ever have been. I expected to feel different, but I feel the same. Pregnancy was such a purgatory for me, and coming out of the other side has given me such a lightness. 

I am a mother now, but I don’t know what kind, yet. I am less anxious than I thought I would be, more relaxed. You make me that way, chilled out as you are. You are teaching me to be a mother; we are learning together. Let’s hope we do a good job, eh? 

I am a mother now. 

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24 Signs You Are a New Mum

  1. You’ve lost count of how many people have fondled your boobs in the last couple of weeks… 
  2. Do you even own any clothes that aren’t pyjamas? ‘Cos if it doesn’t have a stretchy waistband then it may never see the light of day again. 
  3. Food has never tasted so good to you. Gimme all the cheese and sushi! 
  4. Caffeine is no longer optional in your life. Can you hook it straight into your veins or…? 
  5. You can’t stop yourself from referring to yourself or your partner in the third person. Yep, Mama does need you to stop crying and for Dad to get her some wine… 
  6. You thought you were obsessed with cleanliness before?! Think again… *washes hands and sanitises everything in sight*
  7. Your phone is out of storage because you’ve snapped so many almost-identical photos of your newborn. They’re just so cute, though!
  8. You might have strained your eyes from rolling them at people who claim that they’re ‘exhausted’. They don’t know the true meaning of tired!
  9. It’s now totally normal to discuss bodily functions with almost-strangers. 
  10. Google has become your best friend and worst enemy. 
  11. You swore you wouldn’t be those parents… but at least 50% of your conversations have been about poop in the last couple of weeks. 
  12. You’ve gone from productive girl boss to putting ‘shower’ on your to do list (and not really even being that fussed if you tick it off…)
  13. You have a lot of opinions about property development because of your slight addiction to Homes Under the Hammer. 
  14. You’re a little convinced that staring at the baby will keep it alive. Constant vigilance! 
  15. Gourmet meals are ones that you get to eat with both hands whilst they’re still warm. 
  16. Have you stumbled into some kind of time warp? Because you could have sworn that only 10 minutes has gone by but it seems to be getting dark again?! What day is it?!?
  17. You don’t dare leave the house without a suitcase packed to the brim with baby supplies. What if they need their nappy changing 10 times whilst you walk round the block?! *packs more nappies* 
  18. You have strong opinions on nappy brands already. Aldi, FTW! 
  19. You’ve had a moment where you wondered whether you should have just gotten a puppy instead… 
  20. Are you in some kind of musical? Because you’re spending a lot of time singing these days… 
  21. You’re convinced that your baby might be smarter than they let on. How do they know to scream as soon as you are otherwise occupied?!
  22. You’ve completed at least three new series on Netflix since your little bundle of joy arrived. 
  23. You feel a little bit devastated and a little bit ecstatic when people point out that your baby has grown. You mean they’re not going to be a little squishy newborn forever?! 
  24. You’re a bit smug because you’re convinced that you have the objectively cutest baby on the planet. It’s not because you are biased or anything… 

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The Lottery Game

How playing the lottery game can help get you on track with your dreams and goals...

Do you ever play the lottery game? It’s a bit of a fruitless past-time, given the odds, but it’s sometimes fun to imagine just what you would spend all that money on, if given the chance. Paul and I like to get very specific, choosing our houses on Rightmove and plotting just exactly where we would travel first, depending on the size of the jackpot. It’s fun to dream about, but I think it might serve another purpose, too… 

Whilst there’s no doubt that we would buy *stuff* (mostly pretty houses and wine cellars full of booze for parties…), what winning the lottery would really do would be to buy us opportunity and time to explore the things we really care about. It begs the question, what would you dedicate yourself to if you didn’t have to work or worry about money? 

Just off the top of my head… I would travel more, try my hand at writing a book, be more conscientious about this blog, spend more time with my family and friends, start a supper club. I would want to open up my home, to host friends and family but also strangers. Maybe some sort of writers retreat situation, supper-club-slash-bed-and-breakfast. Some way of sharing and meeting people and having the kind of home where the door is always open and there’s always a bottle of champagne ready to pop. I would maybe want to own a bookshop, or some kind of beautiful space that people could hire for parties and weddings or just because. 

None of those things are impossible without a lottery win, of course. Thankfully, my dreams are not all that expensive, but to achieve them without the backing of my imaginary millions would take more dedication and work. They need to be fitted into a smaller space of time, since I do have to go to my day job and do (some of) my own chores. They’d need more careful thinking to fund and maybe I’d need to choose one or two to start with, rather than jumping in at the deep end with all of them. 

But playing the lottery game, and allowing yourself to dream big and imagine the ‘best case scenario’ can really help solidify your thinking on what you’d like to dedicate your time and energy to in the long run. Whilst it would be ideal for millions to land in your lap so you could see it all through, the chance of that is unlikely so it’s far better to start small(er) now and make some steps towards incorporating those things without the lottery win. I’m hoping to start with this blog (baby-clingy-ness-dependent) over the next few months but you can be sure that I’ve made a note of the other things on my list to start checking off… 

What would you be doing if you won the lottery?

How playing the lottery game can help get you on track with your dreams and goals...

How playing the lottery game can help get you on track with your dreams and goals...

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My Pregnancy Survival Tips

Tips for surviving and thriving during pregnancy

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have *not* enjoyed being pregnant. This, despite the fact that I have been blessed with a (so far) healthy and low-key pregnancy. Mostly, I’m just a big whiner. Growing a human, it turns out, is not one of my favourite past-times but sadly it takes rather a long time – so I’ve learnt a few tips and tricks along the way to make it a bit more bearable. 

Take a Lot of Baths

This is tip number one, for sure. Baths are relaxing and lovely at the best of times, but even more so when you’re pregnant. It’s a chance to take the weight off, quite literally, and feel comfortable. Plus, it’s a relatively effective method for easing the minor aches and pains that you pick up on the daily when living the pregnant life. I’ve stocked up on a whole bunch of romance novels for light bath time reading (no complex plots or distressingly sad endings!) and was happily gifted a load of Lush bath bombs for Christmas and my birthday, so they’ve been keeping me going for the most part. Pro-tip: take a bar of chocolate or other favourite snack into the bath – it’s about as decadent as life gets when you’re pregnant. My only other ‘beauty’ tip – invest in some Palmer’s Cocoa Butter for your bump. I don’t know whether it’s actually contributed to my total lack of stretch marks, or whether that’s just luck, but it smells lovely and feels very luxurious to give yourself some fancy daily moisturising. 

Buy a Pregnancy Pillow 

Having a pregnancy pillow has been an absolute life saver for me; I’ve actually been sleeping relatively well since I started to use it properly, which has made everything else seem a little bit rosier. I have this one, which also handily goes with my bedroom decor. 

Nap As Often As You Can 

I have never been a big napper, but whilst pregnant I have learnt to let go of my guilt around napping and fully embraced having one or two extra little sleeps a day. In my first trimester, this was absolutely essential in order to survive to the end of the day, and that feeling is looping round again now as I near my due date, but even when I was feeling a bit perkier, it’s been a great way to feel a little bit more human and capable. Plus, everyone tells you to sleep whilst you can, and although I’m not sure you can ‘bank’ sleep, it’s better not to go into your new adventure totally exhausted, if at all possible. 

Try Not to Overload Your Social Calendar 

This is a case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’ if ever I saw one. At the beginning, we had something on every weekend (including hosting almost 20 people for Friendsgiving…), which was very poor planning on my part as having no time to rest and recuperate led to me getting super sick over Christmas with a lovely combination of ‘morning sickness’ (which was more like all-day-nausea) and a two-week-long cold. And then we’ve just had another run of busy weekends as everyone ramps up their social events again for summer – which is lovely, but also very tiring.

Surrender to Flat Shoes 

For a short-arse like me, this totally sucks. But my back and my hips thank me for it if I opt for trainers over boots, so I’ve been living in my Converse. Bonus: they’re basically slip-on, which is very handy now that there’s a baby in the way of me bending down to tie my laces. I’ve also just invested in a pair of TOMS sandals on the recommendation of a friend, and they’re maybe the best sandals I’ve ever owned (plus, they’re on sale right now…). They don’t rub, even though my feet are, ahem, larger than usual at the moment and they have a squidgy base so they’re super comfortable. 

H&M Do the Best Maternity Wear 

Dressing for pregnancy is the biggest challenge (you know, other than the whole ‘growing a human’ thing) and finding clothes that make you feel like yourself can make all the difference to how you feel, as shallow as that may seem. Having tested quite a few of the high street brands, it’s H&M that have led the way for me; my wardrobe is mostly made of basics anyway and H&M have a good collection which isn’t too pricey (given that you’ll only be wearing these clothes for a short period of time). However, there are a couple of exceptions to that rule – New Look Petite maternity jeans are the only ones I’ve found that fit the length of my legs and don’t end up falling down after twenty minutes of wear (so if you’re also 5’0″, this might be relevant to your interests) and I have loved the two dresses that I picked up from the Seraphine sale for special occasions. 

Go To Some Classes & Do Your Research 

I know that people have mixed feelings about NCT classes, but we had a wholly positive experience with ours (even if my squeamish self did have to leave the room for some of the more graphic descriptions of labour…). I feel a lot more calm and confident about what’s coming up as a result, and it’s been a great jumping off point for doing our own research. I’d already read a few books and done some general investigating before the classes, but having someone with some qualifications confirm what I thought I knew was really invaluable. I think the classes were particularly good for Paul, too, as there was an equal focus on what birth partners can be doing to support and prepare, which has helped him feel a lot happier with the whole process. Plus, we made some nice parent pals to hang out with on maternity leave, so that’s a positive, too! Knowledge is power, my friends – but be careful where you get your information as it’s very easy to fall into a forum or two where misinformation is rife… I’ve freaked myself out on more than one occasion doing that! 

Feel All Your Feelings Without Guilt

I have been wholly honest on this blog and on my social media channels (mostly Instagram) about the ups and downs I’ve experienced during pregnancy. As someone who is generally pretty positive and who considers herself very ‘blessed’ (ugh, I know), it’s been tricky for me to feel so down so much of the time, especially when pregnancy is supposed to be the harbinger of joy rather than sorrow. At times, I have felt really terrible about it and as if I’m already a terrible mother simply for wishing for one damn minute I could not be pregnant, but, ultimately, my feelings are my feelings and there’s no point feeling guilty about them. (Phew, that’s a lot of feelings in one sentence!). There have equally been moments of pure joy and happiness, so it’s all swings and roundabouts (especially due to those pesky hormones), so don’t beat yourself up (and don’t let anyone else do the metaphorical beating, either). 

Let People Be Nice To You 

Oh god, do I struggle with this one. When you are pregnant – and especially when you are visibly very pregnant – everyone will go out of their way to be nice to you. You will have the same conversations about names, due dates and sex of your baby multiple times a day with strangers. And it’s not just strangers – friends and family will buy you presents, travel for your baby shower and insist that you take a damn seat rather than running around doing things. At times this is particularly difficult; it can feel like you’re a bit useless, which is rather frustrating. But, let people be nice to you and revel in having drinks brought to you and chores taken off your hands. You’re growing a baby – you deserve a little rest and relaxation! 

Do you have any tips to add? I’ve still got a few weeks left, so there’s still time… (!) 


 

 

Pregnancy Survival Tips // Amy Elizabeth

Tips for surviving and thriving during pregnancy

A few tips for surviving pregnancy and how to thrive during pregnancy. [/caption]

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The Art of Aggressive Friending

[Photo by Evan Kirby]

A few things have got me thinking about making friends recently. The first was Emma’s post on friend dating (featuring yours truly) and the second was starting our NCT classes. As well as learning a bit more about what this whole baby business is going to entail, everyone’s main goal is making some new parent pals for this new phase of their life. I think we were the only ones who had existing friends with babies nearby, thus making us the focus of some envy – but, as I always say, you can never have too many friends, especially when you’re about to be spending a whole lot of weekdays flying solo. Someone described NCT as being a bit like University, which for many of us was the last time in our life where making friends felt easy and natural, with everyone eager to meet new people and make connections, rather than sticking to their tried-and-tested groups and relationships. 

There’s a general wisdom that it is hard to make friends as an adult, and whilst I don’t entirely dispute that, I have actually found it to be the opposite – I have more friends now than I ever had at school or University, and I like to think that I’m juggling quality as well as quantity, because they are all ace. Part of that is purely luck; being with Paul meant falling into a ready-made friendship group (or two) and, in fact, at my hen do it seemed like almost everyone’s answer to ‘how do you know Amy?’ was… ‘through Paul’.

But… part of it is also from practicing the art of what I call ‘aggressive friending’. Now, contrary to the name, there’s nothing really aggressive or violent about this method – I like to think it’s actually quite nice. But what it does mean is not being afraid to come on too strong in the friendship stakes. If you find someone cool that you want to be friends with, tell them! What’s the worst that can happen? No one is ever going to be mad that someone else thinks they are awesome. And then, you keep telling them, not in words but in actions – inviting them to events or parties or coffee meet-ups – until they’re your new besties. I know these things are easier said than done, but I promise that it has worked like a charm for me on many occasions since I moved to Leeds, so I thought I would share my top tips with you, in case you’re looking to make some new BFFs in your life. 

Be Generous 

A cornerstone of aggressive friending is generosity. People like people who do nice things for them, so it just makes sense. Now, being martyr-ish about the favours you bestow upon your new friends will not endear you to anyone, so only be as generous as you really can be – everyone has a different threshold for this, but have an open heart and good things will come back to you. This can be as simple as extending an invitation for dinner, or buying them a drink when you’re at the pub, or even just giving them a compliment (after all, you want to be friends, so there must be something you like about them!). Do them a favour, with no expectation of a return – just merely for the joy of helping out another awesome human, and you might be surprised at what happens. 

Show Your True Colours

Paul and I have often ‘aggressively friended’ other couples together, and if you’ve met us in real life then you might understand why that might be a bit much for some people. We are both incredibly chatty, overly enthusiastic, strongly opinionated and probably talk louder than we should do in public places. (We have some good qualities, too…). That makes us really great friends for some people, and probably really not for others. But there’s no point pretending to be anything other than what we are, partly because there’s no way we can hide it, but also partly because we want friends who *want* to be friends with us. If someone doesn’t like you? It stings but at least you’ll know so you can go on and find someone who digs your particular brand of friendship. 

Make Connections 

Don’t keep all your new friends to yourself! You can expand your circle so much and make so many more new friends if you’re willing to spread the love a little bit. Introduce your new friends to other friends if you think they’d get along, or invite lots of different pockets of friends to one event and let them mingle together. You never know what connections they’ll forge with just a little nudging, and the more you do it, the more people will offer the same back to you – thus increasing your potential for new friends exponentially. This also comes under the ‘be generous’ banner; don’t treat your friendship group like a clique – let people in and you’ll find it reaps all kinds of friendship rewards. 

Take People at Their Word 

I spent a lot of time in my teenage years worried that my friends were only friends with me out of some sense of obligation, rather than any real affection for me. What I have learnt over time is that almost no one is friends with someone out of pity, so you can pretty much safely assume that if they accept your invitation or seem enthusiastic, then they are as down for the friendship thing as you are. Second guessing people’s motives will only send you into an anxiety spiral; you’ll soon know for sure if someone doesn’t want to hang out with you, because they’ll just stop hanging out with you. Don’t be pushy, but extend your invitations and compliments without fear and you might be surprised at the results. 

How to make friends as an adult - relationship and friendship advice on making friends with new people // Amy Elizabeth

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Accepting the Season I’m In

Accepting the Season I'm In // Amy Elizabeth

Life moves in seasons. There are the seasons for hustling, the seasons for hibernating, the seasons for celebration, the seasons for nurturing and everything in between. The key, it seems, is accepting the season that you’re in right now, and letting it fill your life fully. This is not something that comes naturally to me; I am always looking behind and ahead, wishing things on the horizon could be happening right now rather than at some unspecified time in the future. I want to be doing and having it all, even though I know that’s not possible, and lord knows I beat myself up about not achieving the impossible. 

The phrase ‘you can have it all, but not all at the same time’ has never been more apt. I may want to be nailing it on Instagram, improving my photography, blogging regularly, bossing it at my job, keeping up with house projects, having fun with friends and family, trying new recipes every week, working on my knitting, reading my whole TBR pile AND growing a human, but that just isn’t feasible, even for someone with as organised a to do list as myself. I can only do a couple of things at a time, and this season *has* to be about growing a human first and foremost (can’t get out of that one now…) and preparing for his arrival. This is a nesting season, if ever there was one; I am napping more than I ever have (even when I was a student with 8 hours of lectures a week…) and my thoughts are preoccupied with nursery themes and pre-baby tasks that need to be completed. Second to that is time spent with Paul, and getting things together at my job so I can leave in 5 weeks time (!) without everything imploding. So you can see why this blog has very much taken a backseat, despite all of my best intentions and ideas. 

Now more than ever, I think I need to accept that this is the season that I’m in. I may want to be in a different season, sometimes, when I see people nailing it creatively or gallivanting on exciting trips abroad, but that just isn’t the place that I’m in. I did choose to be here, after all, and it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that you need to take it easy when you’re lugging around a baby all day, every day. It is easy to focus on what you’re missing out on, rather than being fully present for what is happening right now (especially when what’s happening right now is mostly weird joint pains and exhaustion…). But there are joys to this season, even if they are slightly harder to find. Our house has never looked better (even if I do say so myself) and it is a joy to put together a little room for our little man. I realise that babies don’t give much thought to interior design, but it’s nice to actually *do* something for him, in the small way that we can, before he actually arrives. As we get ready to welcome a new member to the team, I feel like Paul and I are working better together than we ever have. Tuna even seems to be being a little bit nicer to me, but that could be wishful thinking… 

There will be time enough, if I am lucky, to work on creative projects, start my dream business (bookshop bar? boutique bed and breakfast? something not beginning with B?) or travel the world if I want to. I don’t need to do it all right this minute, as impatient as I am by nature. So some things are being struck off my to do list permanently (or as permanently as they can be…) and others are going on the back burner until I’ve got this baby thing down. The next season, of course, will be a season for mothering – learning how to navigate life with my little pal and trying to find a new normal so that there’s room for the other bits and pieces to start creeping back in. But after that? I guess only time will tell. 

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