Monday, 17 September 2018

Taking the Leap

We've all seen the movie: Our lead wants something and thinks about this thing all the time. People around our lead send positive vibes and encouragement to go for this thing, but our lead is scared to go for it. After some time something ignites our lead to take the leap and go for it. With a set-back or two our lead finally gets the thing and the screen fades to black with our lead beaming from ear-to-ear.......and we sit there as the credits roll with a warm glow, marvelling at the leads bravery and grateful that the lead wins in the end.

But we all know that movies are not reality.

You see, I took a leap quite recently and went for something I really wanted. It was something that had been on my mind for some time and I had done what our lead always does - I talked about it to a few trusted friends, and talked and talked and talked until it got to a point where there wasn't much else to say over time. It was a leap I had never taken before and I had talked myself out of it so many times, but finally, finally, I decided to do it.
Dress: Very^
Sandals: Simply Be
Sunglasses: Spitalfields Market
Unfortunately for me, I did not get the movie ending. My story didn't fade to black with me beaming and basking in my success. Instead I crashed and burned. I'd done all the calculations, I'd weighed the pros and cons, and I um'd and ah'd for what felt like an eternity, but ultimately I decided it was better to know than to always wonder. No, it did not end the way I wanted, and no, I did not get what I wanted. Yes, I feel hurt, upset and a little embarrassed. But you know what I don't feel? I don't feel regret.

Because what's the worse that can happen when we go for what we want? Not getting what we want. Does that negate taking the chance in the first place? Is it only worth it with success? I don't believe so. I think it's worth it even if things don't work out the way we'd like. The regret would be not taking the leap at all. The sun will still rise and the world will keep turning, and it's often found that what was such a big deal yesterday isn't so much today, and that, in turn, propels us to keep taking the leap with other goals in life.

Brave is a word that is thrown around a lot and most of the time I take the sentiment with a pinch of salt, but I've come to realise that bravery is a very subjective thing. What I did would not have been a big deal for a lot of people, but it was a big deal for me. I did something I never would have dreamed of doing and had never done before yet I did it - that is brave. I found an inner strength I had always doubted I had and it feels good to know I can rely on it when push comes to shove.

I also know that time is the best medicine for a bruised ego and I know I'll be alright. I already feel better just writing this down and I know as the days tick by it'll get easier.

At no point have I thought I shouldn't have done it and I know I feel so much better knowing than not. I no longer have the knot in my stomach going back and forth in my mind. I have a clear outlook on the situation and peace of mind.
So maybe I did get my happy ending. Maybe that chapter has faded to black with me beaming and basking in my success. Because I did something brave - I took the leap.


'til next time!


Love and hugs,
Isha xxx


KEY: Symbol ^ denotes an item no longer available.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Success

In the blogger world, success is often in reference to money or exposure. Often these two things go hand-in-hand, in that the more exposure you get the more you are in a position to ask to be paid for your work/ name/ face, etc. Blogging has become a business for many and an aspiration to even more, but are we being realistic?

Don't get me wrong, I think it's great to have ambition and to work and strive for a goal or goals, but I also think it's important to be realistic with those goals. There are so many factors that come into trying to make a blog a business. For example, bloggers whom have been able to make their blog their sole source of income are often white, slim/ slim passing, a small fat, able-bodied, cis gendered, and/ or with euro-centric beauty. There are of course other examples that correlate, but that's the starting point. Not every blogger is going to fall into that blueprint, nor should we, but unfortunately we have not yet reached a point where said factors do not matter. With every small achievement in the blogger world there is more to dismantle and more work to be done, and there are those whom spend a great deal of their time fighting the good fight, but we have to ask the question whether we will really ever achieve equality.

I think it's great that blogging has got to a point where a genuine career can be had. To have business relationships with brands and to work together to the benefit of both parties, and being self-employed certainly has its advantages. I read various blogs (yes, I still read blogs....more on that in another post) and there is a mixture of self-employed babes and blogging as a side-gig babes. There is room for us all; so with that, why do bloggers put so much pressure on themselves to be mini moguls, and why are bloggers whom do not wish to have their blog be a business made to feel guilty for not wanting to reap the benefits, through blogging?! I can sum it up in one quote....
Dress: Elvi^
Slip underneath: Marks and Spencer
Cardigan: H&M
Belt: Dorothy Perkins^
Sandals: Dorothy Perkins^
Clutch: Primark (gifted to me by the lovely Diana)^
Sunglasses: Sungalsses Hut^

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

That's it, right there. Theodore Roosevelt had it sussed. If we allow ourselves to get sucked into other people's worlds, we will always feel as though we're falling short. Achievements we might otherwise feel good about or even celebrate suddenly go by unacknowledged because we immediately look at what counterparts are doing, conclude that their lives and opportunities are better, and subsequently make ourselves feel lesser than. This mindset isn't sustainable for a healthy and happy mind and we have to unlearn lines of thinking that can be so damaging.

I've mentioned on my blog before how I have no desire to have this blog be a business. Yes I work with brands from time-to-time, and yes I do the odd interview and give the odd quote for an article, but I do those things out of pure enjoyment rather than with the hope of something major coming out of it. I don't want to be a famous blogger and I don't want to see my name in lights. Having said that, I'm not trying to shame anyone who does want that as I think we should all go for what we want if we truly; but I guess I'm just a grassroots blogger doing the work to ensure that self-worth, self-love and internal happiness is the message.
There is guilt that comes with this though. I'm a black blogger and oh how rare we are in terms of numbers, support and exposure, so, if anything, I should be kicking and screaming to be heard and to be at the forefront, but I'm not. It's just not my character. I'm shy and an introvert and those do not work well with being the centre of attention. Its never been my goal and part of me wishes it was, but I've chosen to stay true to myself and, most importantly, take care of my mental health which means I have to be in control of where my face and words are. I have turned down features, TV and radio interviews, and brand appearances because for varying reasons they just haven't sat right with me and I feel there are "better" (for want of a better word) black bloggers out there that are far more comfortable in the spotlight and who use their voice in ways I never could.
That's not a failing on my part because we're all different, but it goes back to what I deem as success. Success for me isn't about number of followers or how much money I can be paid, but about having just one person read my blog and feel good about themselves because they see someone like them on a platform (albeit a small one) trying their best to keep their head above water.

Because isn't that we're all trying to do? And in doing so, isn't that the greatest success?!


'til next time!


Love and hugs,
Isha xxx



KEY: Symbol ^ denotes an item no longer available.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Writing Tools from Old English Company

There are so many ways in which I'm old fashioned, and hand writing is one of those ways. I can see your confused faces now. Surely I don't mean actually taking a pen and applying it to paper?! Well yes, actually. I've always loved writing in notebooks and it's how I started, and continue to write creatively - short stories and my never to be finished novel are all in notebooks and I just love the process.

I love seeing the misspellings, the crossings out, the brainstorms in the margins and plot twists arrowed on a different page; I love seeing my mind working stories out and it's something you just don't get when typing away on a computer/ laptop/ phone, etc.

I feel so much more connected to my work when I'm using a pad and pen, so when I was asked if I wanted to pick some items from Old English Co. I couldn't wait to head over to their site. In the end I decided on half writing tools and half treat yo'self gems:
1. 'Do What You Love' A4 Notebook for new projects
2. 'Beauty in Simplicity' A5 Wiro Notebook for brainstorming
3. Blush Pink and Gold A5 Planner because I'm a huge lists person and love having a cute planner to travel around with me
4. A 'Girl Gang' and an 'Ice Cream' enamel pin because I have an array of tote bags in need of embellishment
5. Spiffing Birthday Card because it's always someone's birthday
6. 'You Look Scrumptious Pocket Mirror' because a girl needs to have one to hand to retouch her lipstick!
I love each item in my gift package and everything is such great quality - almost to the point where it all feels too fancy to use. The clean lines and simple designs make each item extremely versatile, and I can't wait to start using my planner and A5 notebook, in particular, for brunch-date planning and short story musings.
I'm so impressed and will probably purchase a few homeware items and prints I've seen and have fallen in love with. Old English Co. website is filled with great kitchen and homeware accessories, gift ideas, stationary, and greeting cards for every occasion - you'd really struggle not be utterly impressed with what's on offer.

'til next time!


Love and hugs,
Isha xxx

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

The Confidence Myth

"Fake it 'til you make it!"

I cannot tell you how many times I've seen that phrase, and although I understand the sentiment, it hasn't been one I've ever really embraced. You see, I'm a self reflector and have always tried to be honest with myself about my feelings and emotions, so looking in the mirror and telling myself that I feel amazing when I don't, just doesn't sit right. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we should go about our daily lives unloading onto the person unfortunate enough to sit next to us on public transport, and I'm not saying we should wear sandwich boards with our mood of the day (although I secretly think this would be awesome!), but we at least owe ourselves the truth.

We live in a society where, if the cashier in Sainsbury's asks how we are, we are expected to smile and simply say "Good thanks, and you?", and I too fall into what is socially acceptable in this instance, but I refuse to lie to myself in regards to how I'm feeling in the hope that I may convince my brain otherwise. I know, I know, this sounds like a bleak outlook on life, but it really isn't because I do love one thing - affirmations. I enjoy the practice of taking time to re-train the mind and teach the mind to be kinder, to nurture, to love, to be positive, without having to lie to myself. I find that affirmations are much better for my mental health and a healthy mind helps my confidence no end.

There are days, however, when even affirmations don't help. You know what I'm talking about. Those days when you wake up and feel the doom in the pit of your stomach and you know you're going to struggle. Sometimes those feelings last more than a day - sometimes those moments last weeks, months and even years. We all get these moments in varying waves and anyone who tells you different is lying to you and themselves. That's right, I'm talking about the confidence myth.
 Jumpsuit: In The Style 
Pumps: Simply Be*
Sunglasses: Spitalfields Market
Take this amazing In The Style jumpsuit for example. If you follow me on my blog or my Instagram, you'll see that my style is very much a dress and a cardigan situation. As much as my style of dresses may vary, I very rarely stray far from that aesthetic. But here I am, not only not wearing a dress or a skirt, but wearing an all-in-one, without any kind of coverup. While looking in the mirror, I felt at odds with what I was wearing, but the more I looked and the more I rotated and checked myself out from various angles, the more I was feeling it and feeling myself. My brain did a good thing and my confidence clicked into place at the exact right time.

It doesn't always go that way though, and social media can be the worse place when we're not feeling great. We scroll and see other people smiling, laughing and loving through their lives, and we're made to feel like there is something wrong with us because we're not constantly "on". We look at these perfect lives and feel like failures because we don't leap out of bed, throw on clothes and strut though our day with a never ending supply of confidence. But we fail to remember something. We fail to remember that those tweets, pictures or Instastories are snippets of a moment in time. We fail to remember that, for the other 23 or 22 hours of their day, it may not have been so great. We fail to remember we only see what people want us to see and social media is just that - social, like the very same social encounters we have with the cashier in Sainsbury's when we tell then we're "Good thanks".
Having a wobble doesn't make us failures. We need to stop beating ourselves up for not "living our best lives" (oh how I hate that phrase!) all day everyday. It just isn't realistic. We're all human and we all have ups and downs. Some will have more ups than others but we all have to work through our shit. I for one have been struggling at the start of the year. I haven't felt like myself and my mind is often swirling with doubts about how I look, friends, family, work, and everything in between. It would be so easy for me fall into the abyss and write this year off before it's even really started. However, I've really taken comfort in fellow bloggers acknowledging that they too have had a hard start to the year. It isn't about enjoying someone else's misery, but about taking comfort in the fact that I'm not alone.

And those are kind of people and personalities I gravitate to more than anyone else - not the perfect lives, but the honest ones. To that end, you should check out an article I contributed a quote from this post for. Simply Be US have shared some inspiring advice from my fellow bloggers all about how to deal with the summer period. You can read it here.

'til next time!


Love and hugs,
Isha xxx


KEY: Symbol * denotes an item no longer available.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Comfort

A much as I love my style aesthetic, I have always wanted to, at times, step outside my comfort zone. It's not about wanting to move away from how I identify myself, nor the fear of falling into a rut, but more about mixing things up and maybe adding elements to my existing style. Fashion is like make-up: versatile with no restrictions other than those we put on ourselves.

I'd been meaning to try trousers and jeans for a little while; particularly jeans as they can be worn with almost anything and they're so easy to style, it felt like a no brainer to look for jeans first. However, as much as you may plan, sometimes you see something you'd never thought of trying and your pupils go all heart-shaped - enter these trousers, designed by Bethany (of Arched Eyebrow) for Navabi. 
Rose Print Blouse: Gozzip for Navabi*
Paperbag Trousers: Arched Eyebrow for Navabi*
Ballerina Flats: New Look^
I'm really not one for trousers but, when Bethany launched her debut collection for Navabi, these trousers were the stand-out piece for me. I loved the colour, I loved the shape, and suddenly I was thinking of ways I could wear them while still feeling good and comfortable. During the launch, Navabi were kind enough to gift us all a piece from the line and I could have so easily gone for one of the many dreamy dresses also in the collection, but I just had to take a punt and get the trousers. 

I was really excited to get them and tried them on as soon as they came. However, as much as I loved them I couldn't get the negative nancy out of my head; I couldn't help but think they looked all wrong on me. Not tall enough, thighs too big, tummy too protruding, and all the other negative thoughts that rear their ugly head from time to time (a post on this coming soon), and I couldn't shake them. I couldn't find a top that made me feel good in the trousers, and it was increasingly frustrating knowing how much I wanted to wear them, but also knowing that I wouldn't be happy if I didn't feel comfortable in them. Luckily, Navabi offered me chance to pick an item from their new collections and I went for this blouse from Gozzip. 
Finally I had a full outfit I felt good in, and I couldn't wait to get pictures to capture this pretty big step for me. I love this outfit and the two pieces go so well together it's almost like they were made for each other. 

So next year is looming and I have plans to continue on this route. As much as I want to push myself out of my comfort zone, it's also important to remember that I can take my time and take each step at my own pace. I encourage you to do the same!

You can shop Bethany's collection here


'til next time!

Love and hugs,
Isha xxx



KEY:
Symbol * denotes a gifted item
Symbol ^ denotes an item no longer available

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Mute and Unfollow Buttons: Why They Can Be Your Best Friends

The internet is a wonderful thing. We are one google search away from knowing the worlds secrets, organising a wedding, or a birthday party, without having to leave our beds. We can connect with people from all over the world and from all walks of life, and I have no doubt it has helped us all with personal growth, to understand each other and see beyond our own little bubble. I'm even old enough to remember having to, *gasp*, pick up the phone and talk to someone if I wanted to do something like order a pizza!

It's a life changing tool, particularly if you do something as a career or a hobby, where connecting with people is the ultimately goal. It can sometimes feel like there are no limitations or bad points about being connected to people all the time.
Dress: V by Very (no longer available)
Sandals: Dorothy Perkins (no longer available)
Sunglasses: Spitalfields Market

The thing is, there is always a downside to anything. No matter how good something can be, there will always be moments that make you feel less than joyful. There are so many facets to social media and we tend to find ourselves on Twitter and Instagram more than any other, and again, they are great for meeting virtual people and making virtual friends, or just admiring from afar (which is what I tend to do. Hello introvert with anxiety issues!). I remember a time without these apps but I genuinely feel like I know more about myself and have gained a lot from my interactions with people with these apps, so why would I be talking about using the mute/ unfollow buttons?

Sanity.

I'm not kidding. We want to consume everything we see, comment on everything people say, argue with everyone with a difference of opinion, and want to vehemently agree with a tweet or picture that resonates with us; but the problem that arises with that is we can often feel like our brains are so full they're fit to burst.

We can't engage with everything we see. It's just not feasible, nor is it healthy. If you're like me and like to be culturally and politically aware, the world is an ever evolving shit-storm with very little to ease the anger and frustration, so because of this, sometimes a mute or even an unfollow can do the world of good for our mental health. Filtering depending on how we're feeling is so important because there is so much triggering material all over our feeds and we're not machines; we can't choose what to be affected by and when, so filtering people out is a great way to maintain ones sanity without fulling deleting every virtual person from our lives.
From my world, the blogger world, it's so easy to get sucked into someones online life. Comparison is easy and feeling inadequate even easier, so it's totally OK to mute someone who triggers something negative in you - you may even be a fan of theirs or like a lot of what they say, but if you feel like their output is doing you more harm than good please look after yourself and hit the mute or unfollow button. I personally did this recently with someone whom in theory, I actually liked a lot of what they were saying, but the deliverance and frequency of it just became too much - the mute button was hit and I have genuinely felt so much better since then. My mind actually feels clearer and I'm able to look at my Twitter feed without fearing what the next 'big issue' will be. It's cathartic and doesn't make you a bad person. It simply makes you someone who puts your own mental health above reading a 30-tweet rant.

So the next time you feel exasperated by someones feed, don't be shy, hit that mute button at the very least. You'll feel so much better.

 'til next time!


Love and hugs,
Isha xxx

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Living My Best 'Boring' Life

I was talking to a work colleague the other day about what I did last New Years Eve. I ordered a pizza, watched The Revenant, drank a entire bottle of Prosecco all to myself, and was in bed by the time the last chime struck at midnight. Now to most people, this would seem like the lamest thing in the world. Didn't I want to be out? Didn't I want company? Didn't I feel like I was wasting what should have been a social extravaganza of an evening? Well, the answer to all was no.
Pinafore Denim Dress: Lost Ink for Very (limited sizes available)
Cardigan: Marks and Spencer 
Sandals: Dorothy Perkins (no longer available)
Sunglasses: Spitalfields Market
You see, I've never been a sufferer of F.O.M.O (fear of missing out). I've never felt the pressure to be doing something my counterparts were doing merely so I could "relate". I don't know if it's because I've always been in my own head and have always enjoyed my own company, but I have often looked on in bemusement seeing people scramble for plans of any kind just so they could say they had something to do. Maybe I'm just too independent and refuse to conform, because I clearly don't 'get it', this need to have an exciting life, because to me, my life is exciting. Last week was a super busy one for me where I was out every night, including Saturday. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends more than anything and had the best time hanging out, eating dinners, drinking cocktails and wine, and talking into the early hours, but I cannot tell you how happy I was to throw on some lounge wear and bum around my flat all of Sunday. I literally didn't leave the flat. It was glorious!

People have made reference to me having an old soul and I think there's something in that. I'm definitely a home-body who loves to sit on the sofa and binge watch a show on Netflix, and as much as I enjoy having company when I choose to, being on my own is just as blissful. Not having plans and having a potter around a market or park is one of my favourite things to do, but in this day and age we are so programmed to have a pretense of busy. We need others to feel like they need to make an appointment well in advance in order to see us because heaven forbid, we agree to meet someone on the same day they text or call for a hangout. We need to refer to our calendars and stroke our chins as we determine when we might have a free slot for someone we hold dear, and if we don't have anything in our calendar we feel like we are wasting our best years. The pressure to compete is so rife in this digital age; IG, Snapchat, Facebook and the like, have made us seek out more for ourselves even if we don't want it.
It's important to remember that the world and our lives are so fast paced, that we need to log out and actually enjoy a free afternoon or evening. If that means sitting in a coffee shop and watching the world go by, so be it; if it means sitting on our bums watching yet another episode of Friends, great; if it means reading for half an hour, enjoy getting lost in another world. We need to take a step back and allow ourselves to breathe. The world isn't going to stop turning if we don't spend an obscene amount of money in a wine bar on a Saturday night.

So no, I have no idea what I'll be doing this weekend, but I can guarantee you it'll be exactly what I want to do.

'til next time!


Love and hugs,
Isha xxx