After spending the last three months computer-less, I've stumbled across this post in my drafts on grief that I wrote shortly after losing my Gran in January. It's not sad so don't worry, but I thought I would share it incase it can provide any insight or support for anyone grieving! I sit here in June where almost 6 months has passed since and life is good. For anyone dealing with loss- it does get better and easier each day :) You are not alone.

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Grief and loss are very personal things. Everyone deals with them differently and mostly in private, but it's something that we must all go through at certain points our lives. Loss is cruelly unavoidable- from the phone you dropped onto hard concrete to bereavement of a close loved one- when you're sharing your life and experiences with things and people, loss will always come into play at some point.

For Christmas in 2016 I was given the book 'The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying', a combination of the Western take on death and dying mixed with Eastern values. In Buddhism, or at least older forms of Buddhism, death was something to be celebrated and respected, where monks would lay the body to rest for days afterwards, viewing it as a part of life in itself. The book highlights how death in our Western culture is often taboo, an awkward thing to bring up or stumble across in conversation and I totally agree.

In the West, we understand that it's hard to celebrate loss, the months that lie after losing a loved one are difficult but ultimately our emotions are no use left simmering under the surface, like lava just waiting to erupt through the surface.

My biggest vice in life
is drawing the good
out from the bad.

I recently lost my gran and since have been dealing with a whole array of emotions. Losing someone is like having an open wound that you know will heal over one day but until then, you notice it and deal with it daily. 

Then comes in the self care! If you don't look after your pain (mental or physical) it will only get worse. 

My biggest vice in life is drawing the good out from the bad. Without that ability I don't think I'd be as generally happy as I am now. A cheesy but also lovely quote that sums this up is "If you look for the light, you can often find it. But if you look for the dark, it is all you will ever see". 

In so many previous posts I've talked about how there is always light in a dark situation. For me, the death of my Gran was a chance to really think about the time I spent with her, learn things about her that I didn't know before (she'd been hosting our weekly Sunday gatherings for over twenty years and helped build the Church that mum took me to as a child. She also saved someone from drowning and used to swim in a canal for fun on her breaks from her job as a laboratory technician), and spend time with family that I only get to see on rare occasions.

Personally, death of a close friend or a near-death experience for myself is a 'wake up call', a chance to zoom out on life and realise your place in the bigger picture. 

It's notable that although it's good to have long-term goals to work towards, living in the moment is the only thing that will really let us have this human experience to the fullest potential.

Understandably, as people in modern society we seek stability- a good job, income, a house or relationship, something we can rely on to keep us afloat. It's good to be reminded that what you are creating in this present moment will be a future memory, something to look back on. 

There is always only now. If you have the money for that flight but you're scared to go it alone, book it! If you're bored in your job, find another. Call your mum when you think of her. Eat the cake. Learn that language. Meet new people. Host that party. Tell someone if you're struggling. Be a good friend. 

We are so blessed to be able to live and be loved. Every experience you go through, you will grow from. Remembering that as I acknowledge these feelings and move on helps immensely, along with helping other people to enjoy their day.




**

Some little things you can do to make your day happier and more mindful:

Eat your favourite food
Watch a busker perform
Talk to the person next to you on the train/bus
Call a relative
Message an old friend
Take care of plants
Swim outdoors
Try out a new hobby- you don't have to commit
Plan a trip somewhere new
Take ten minutes in the morning to yourself, no phone, no work
Think of three things you are grateful for in that moment
Listen to your body
Cuddle an animal 
Take the longer route for the scenery
Walk from an earlier stop on your commute on a nice day
Perform one act of kindness

 What have you learned from an experience of grief?

Sarah xx

living room with blanket ladder and fairy lights

If you've kept up with this blog for the last year or so, you'll have noticed that we move house a lot. Three times in 2017 to be exact, and now we've settled in a beautiful two floor apartment for one whole year.

It has a small studio room, a living room/lounge, open kitchen with a humble breakfast bar and a basement, noise-cancelling, light shielding bedroom that I have already adorned with macramé and instax mini's.

The elephant in the room

I know I've been absent from my little corner of the internet for the longest time now. After graduating, relaunching my blog and moving house while working two jobs I've struggled to find the time or motivation to stay in touch. In the time I've been away, I've been to some incredible gigs, taken up weekly swimming (inhaled a whole pool by now), am dealing with the death of my beloved Gran, settled into my new home, worked a retail job over the Christmas period, watched a whole 4 seasons of Gilmore Girls and spent New Year with Alex, drinking rum while spreading out on the couch.

I have missed being here so much and hope to share my life with you guys again, just on a less strict schedule and more personal level. :)

Studio

Having a studio room now means I have a beautiful personalised place to work on all my creative projects, where I can separate my work life from my home life! Never have I been able to do this and it feels so gooooood!

However of all of our rooms, the living room might be my favourite.

Comfy couches (an old set that my dad no longer needed) adorned with fleecy blankets, leaf print cushions and enough fairy lights to make you go "hygge", this room is a night owl's dream. We tend to spend the most time in here of an evening, when we abandon all of our work for some Departures or (guiltily), Riverdale.

I ran fairy lights up the stairs also and around the top of our banister, so you know where the cose lies.

Officially, I'm an adult because for Christmas I asked for a bamboo ladder to hang all my blankets on and a shaggy rug for the bedroom. Compare that to the Christmas 2016! Finally being able to make a place my own with next to no restrictions has been incredible. Movie posters, a projector and arrangement of everything have been Alex's inputs. We're lucky that our tastes align so well though he did say I could have reign over decorating the place. *wink wink*
Mirror selfie in blue jeans

Eatin' good

The kitchen is nearly always messy but it's also a haven to two little wicker chairs, draped in faux long pile fur in the corner of the room that sunlight brushes every afternoon. Plants are absolutely friggen EVERYWHERE so unless you know the place well, probably don't walk around in the dark.

My bad.

A wicker table is our home to a huge stack of magazines, ranging from revered illustration mags to crafty essentials and mindful moments.

To be honest, I haven't read them lately but have made a vow to read more print this year when I would be spending time on my phone.

We use command strips to hang up everything so we don't damage the walls (or hit any wires nailing things in) incase any of you fellow renters were wondering!

We're living here until the middle of this year when we can decide to stay or go. Depending on where our jobs/careers take us will be the decider but honestly I'm SO happy to be settled somewhere right now, even if paying bills and council tax is the scariest thing ever.

Have you moved out? I'd love to hear how you dealt with starting to pay bills and rent! What is the best part about having your own place?

Sarah x


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girl standing in a field

I'm known to latch onto my favourite shoes and wear them absolutely to DEATH, so now I purchase most of them second hand. Not only is the rubber from the soles of our shoes one of the things that are super bad for this beautiful planet, but I wear everything down so quickly that there's not always much point in me buying brand new shoes.

I got these little brown boots from a friend back home, and they fit like a dream.

Most of my clothes are amazing charity shop finds, but this dress was a last minute purchase from the high street as I was visiting Wales and needed a new outfit, stat! I bought it a good few sizes too big, which I reckon doesn't look too bad with the embroidered belt. (forgive me, I'm new to this whole fashion thing)

girl in field with leather jacket

girl in field with wildflowers

My faux leather jacket was also secondhand, purchased while surviving my first year of university. When buying a new item of clothing I always ask myself how much will I actually wear it? And damn, if there's anything I've outworn ever, it's this jacket. Which is why I decided to spruce it up with some paint!

I painted some quite bad roses on it last minute, before catching our train to Wales. Alex actually stepped on one of them so there's a cute sock print on it. Mmm, vintage. So authentic.

I've said my goodbyes to summer again and again this year, but I think that last one is for good. The hemisphere is starting to transition into Autumn, my favourite season, so you can bet I'll be cracking out the chunky knit scarves, PVC skirts and yet more boots. I'm not sure why but something about Autumn is so refreshing. Maybe it's the crisp air or the fact that with each September came change.

This is the first September since I can remember that I'm not in education which is pretty bittersweet- but the turn of the leaves still all feels like a new start. I can't wait for strolls in the park through crunchy leaves and breezy sunrises.

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pink planner flatlay

Today I met a man who's friend had invented the doorstops we used at work. That sounds very boring and simple but it got me thinking- literally anyone could have had that idea. The guy simply used his annoyance at a problem, had an idea that he might have forgotten had he not written it down and actually used his motivation to transform this idea into a real thing.

Have you ever watched Joy with Jennifer Lawrence? (it's an okay movie, inspiring and I'm a fan of her so theres that) It's a true story about a woman who invents the self-wringing 'miracle mop' and her climb from laborious single mother to millionaire. While not everyone's motivation is money, again this is a simple idea that anyone could have thought of, in this case she thought off it when she cut her hands up wringing a mop that had broken glass in. Again, Joy wrote down her idea and made it a reality.

I feel like most of us have had an idea in passing then discovered that someone has either a) already done it or b) did it around the same time / just after you thought of it- but you can't do anything about it because you didn't vocalise it.

In the UK it's actually not illegal or breaching copyright to use someone's idea, so the idea you had for a blog post, or a book, even if you pitched it, can be used by someone else without much ground for a fight (why I don't share every sketchbook page ever haha) The key really is to just DO the thing.

I love to think of ideas like clouds... they pass over you, you take them in and you can either take the picture, capturing it or let it travel on past. The cloud will then pass over someone else, and they are given the exact same opportunity. Think of ideas as physical things that pass from one person to another. If you don't catch that idea and write it down, someone else will!

So the key to finding and keeping ideas is to catch them in the act. Carry a little notepad around with you, or a note in your phone ready for these clouds of inspiration.

Use the things that annoy you (think of the unspillable wine glass, am I right) and figure out a solution.

Ideas aren't always epiphanies, they like to camouflage with your regular thoughts. With time you will get better at distinguishing the two; I'm still learning!

At the moment, one of my jobs is as a waitress. I wake up at 5:30am some mornings and use my food order pad as an ideas pad, stuffing the notes in my bra as the shift goes on. At the bottom of my bag is always a pile of crumpled up notes, some which I pull out later and use, develop on and some that eventually end up as wrinkly little chewing gum wrappers which are arguably useful either way.

You have nothing to lose from writing them down.

It's not 'sods law' when you think of something and someone else does it after you- you just need to be that person! Be the one who runs with an idea. Stew on it if you have to, but don't let the universe take it from you, you were lucky to stumble upon it.

If it's inspiration that you need then think about your best projects so far, what mindset were you in when you created them? How did you get there? Maybe explore new territory- new crafts, movies, blogs, towns, cities and cultures. Remember that inspiration doesn't always have to be big and colourful, it can be in the tiny details that you often and easily pass, like the patterned tiles in a bathroom stall, or the quiet conversations in your local coffee shop.

Stay open minded and ideas will come to you. No idea is a bad idea (unless it might get you killed, uhh) and there's really no harm in making a note. And hey, even if you don't act on an idea, at least you can say you thought of it first!


p.s the awesome luxury planner in the first picture is from Rooi. It's HUUUGE and I LOVE IT. Expect to see some organisation posts with it soon.

Have you ever had a genius idea that you discovered someone did already? Where do you get your best ideas? Mine are in bed and in the shower haha.

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