I’ve been thinking about Christmas…

I work in what is broadly termed ‘retail’, so I’ve been thinking about Christmas for a while. But it’s mostly been about how it will affect other people (and what they buy), as is the nature of my job.

However, we’re at 5 weeks to go, and I can’t put off thinking about my Christmas any longer. I started a Pinterest board to start collecting pretty things to keep my spirits up. I’ve been wondering whether to make or buy Christmas cards (I think I’m going with make…) And I’m slowly starting to piece together some gift ideas for family and friends.

Christmas isn’t always an easy and joyous time for me. It’s kind of an exaggerated version of life: there are ups and downs, just more extreme. There are brilliant and beautiful moments, but I can also remember wishing I was with people I couldn’t be with, or getting frustrating at trying to get people together. The hype isn’t all it’s hyped up to be sometimes.

So this year, I’m trying to enter the festive season with all these things at the front of my mind. I’m carefully and slowly trying to manage my expectations, focus in on the things I want, cross-sectioned with things that are actually possible. I signed up for Rachel Cole’s Wisdom Notes for some daily reminders to go slowly and calmly. The first one popped into my inbox today, and I’m feeling inspired about not getting overwhelmed.

What are your plans for Christmas? What’s inspiring you?

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November 19, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Jenny project, life, Thought projects. 1 comment.

Why I don’t wear high heels (or spend hours on my make-up)

You may or may not have noticed that I’m a girl. Or woman. Or lady. Or other words for ‘female human’.

Being a girl means you grow up with certain expectations and things you’re supposed to do or be interested in. One of these things is wearing high heeled shoes. I’m not saying I’ve never worn high heels. I have. Because that’s what expectations and peer pressure and ‘everyone else is doing it’ does to you. But they make me grumpy and tired and miserable. Because that’s what having sore feet does to me!

I thought I’d get used to it. I thought if I bought some fancy in-soles or jelly feet things, it would be ok. But it still hurts so I made a decision: no more high heels. And that doesn’t mean I don’t have nice shoes. I like shoes! My sequin ballet flats and red mary janes and Camper sneakers and leather boots – I love them all. I love them because they’re pretty and comfy and make a function piece of everyday clothing fun. But no high heels for me. No squeezing myself into that particular expectation.

Another thing I’ve abandoned is an extensive make-up regimen. I used to wear full foundation, eye-liner, concealer, mascara, blusher, eye shadow – the works. But again, not worth it. I look marginally better (and it’s a very small margin) for about 20 minutes’ work. These days, it’s all about tinted moisturiser (that smells nice), and mascara and blusher if you’re lucky. Not that I never wear anything else, but for my day-to-day life, that’ll do. My face is my face.

And I think this all stems from a shift in priorities. I don’t want to look good – I want to feel good, be good, be myself, and my best self at that. I can’t work on being the best person I can be and work out what makes me happy and fulfilled if I’m worrying about my shoes, face and hair. I’d rather read a book, get more sleep and be able to go for a nice walk on my way home.

Anyone else foregoing heels and other grooming practices?

November 1, 2012. Tags: , , , . Jenny project, life. Leave a comment.

Autumn. It awesome.

My typographical calendar and felt acorns from notonthehighstreet.com

There’s something unexpectedly comforting about walking home through drizzly north London streets in October. It’s not especially cold, but it’s not warm either. It’s raining, but you’re not getting drenched, just a bit damp. There are leaves on the ground, but also on the trees. You know you’ll have a cup of tea when you get in. Maybe some chocolate.

It is autumn.

There’s something comforting about autumn, but also exciting. It’s time to get out the blankets, mittens, hats, jumpers, casserole dishes and crumble recipes. It’s time for evenings spent reading, watching films and having people over rather than going out. It’s time to light candles, take hot baths and get cosy.

Now that bright, dazzling, exposing, extroverted summer is over, autumn brings out my introversion, accepts it and allows it to thrive. There are fewer barbeques, parties, evening drinks, picnics — there are even fewer daylight hours — so it’s safe to read, write, curl up and keep quiet.

That’s not to say autumn is all about being a hermit. Oh no. I think we’re drawn to connect in the colder months. We need human contact to sustain us when nature is so cruel. But it’s different. The groups are smaller. The gatherings are more intimate.

It’s a time of regeneration, of transition. So there’s contemplation, a shift in priorities. I, for one, am ready for it.

This time of year reminds me of two quotes:

“People are stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” – Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

The darkness is setting in, so I’m lighting candles, breathing deeply and revelling in whatever beauty I can find.

“Leaves become most beautiful when they’re about to die, when they’re about to fall from trees, when they’re about to dry up.” – Regina Spektor

Another one about finding the beauty of autumn. Here in London, the leaves have only just exploded into colour, and it’s a spectacular way to go.

Anyone feel similarly about autumn? Also, I started a Pinterest board for autumn. Check it out.

October 21, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Jenny project. Leave a comment.

Extreme Thursdays

I woke up this morning and I was tired. Like, need a good few hours’ more sleep and a really quiet, cosy day. It’s my first week back at work after two weeks off (head spinning a little), I’ve been trying to cut down on sugar and carbs (a challenge: all I want is a bowl of pasta and some chocolate), and the nights are most certainly drawing in. All of which mean I’m tired and getting out of bed is not as tempting as I’d like.

But, you know what? The day has progressed and I’ve perked up. It’s ok to be tired. It’s ok to avoid being flat out. And good things give me a boost:

  1. A lovely colleague got engaged – happy news!
  2. Other people feel this way too. I spotted tweets about needing two cups of coffee before 9am, battling with tubes and buses, waiting for the weekend. They spur me on. We’re all in our own Extreme Thursdays and we’ll rock it.
  3. Getting some work inspiration. Yesterday, third day back, I wasn’t really sure what I needed to work on, what the priorities were, how to add something fresh to a pretty worn-out routine. Today: I can TOTALLY do this!

How are you rocking your Extreme Thursday? Check out #extremethursdays on Twitter. I’d LOVE to see more of these tweets.

Have an extreme day! x

October 11, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Jenny project, life. Leave a comment.

Beginnings and ends

“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” – Winston Churchill

September 12, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Jenny project, life, writing project. Leave a comment.

Hearts and how they open and close

Image via Pinterest

I have so many brilliant friends who have huge, unique, fantastic potential to love and be loved, but haven’t found the opportunity to let it out yet. Have I found it? Does anyone ever find it?

I’m in a cycle of want-to-open-up followed swiftly holy-shit-this-is-terrifying. My capacity to love is constant, but my ability to let others in and accept the world as it is waxes and wanes regularly – often within a single 24 hour period.

As often happens, I’m reminded of Brene Brown’s eye-opening talk on vulnerability. She talks about the excruciating pain that we experience when we open up to being happy as well as being sad.

August 16, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Jenny project, life, Thought projects. Leave a comment.

Plan B

image

August 9, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Jenny project, life. Leave a comment.

Finding it

I don’t have a picture for today’s August Break post, but I do have a quote:

For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment. Viktor E. Frankl

I know I’m not the only person to wonder what makes up the meaning and purpose of life, but I’m very pleased that others have found the same place I have: that we can find our own meaning. At the moment, the process of finding my meaning is my purpose.

August 8, 2012. Tags: , , , . Jenny project, life, Thought projects. Leave a comment.

Sunset over Little Venice

 

I love this view. I love the water and trees and the boats and the people. The sun consistently sets over this bit of west London canal so that it catches all the important bits.

Every Thursday, I’m there. Most of the time I just walk past, but there are some days, like yesterday when I have to pause to take it in. I shuffle around, trying to get the best spot, the best combination of light and leaves.

When other people walk past and see what I’m doing, I like to think they’re a little bit jealous that I got there first…

August 3, 2012. Tags: , , , , . creative, Jenny project, life. Leave a comment.

two small bits of writing

One

I do not wish to save you

from eternal damnation;

from suicidal urges

that grip and dig talons

through muscles and sinews.

I have no power to be

a saviour

and oftentimes I cannot

convince you

to leave the tiniest notion

behind.

 

Two

Smoke rises violently,

loudly billowing.

And he wonders why

something so visually overwhelming

should be deprived

of any sound.

October 25, 2011. Tags: , , , , . creative, writing project. 1 comment.

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