Learning to Silence my Inner Critic

Initially I wasn’t going to use the set of photos below in a blog post. They aren’t quite right and don’t show the outfit as I wanted it to be shown. But it got me thinking about something that’s been running along in the background of my mind for a while now and so actually, from something imperfect I’m able to write an altogether different to what I planned blog post.

Dress and Tee: Monki | Converse from Schuh

So basically these photos triggered a whole big train of thought about my long-standing battle with perfectionism. I didn’t set any resolutions at the start of 2017 but it was always a goal of mine to try to get more control over my issues with, well, control and making everything “just right”. It’s something that has governed my life for as long as I can remember and has been an undercurrent to my anorexia since the word go. Ever since I started this journey of recovery back in the Summer last year I knew that to get any degree of success I would eventually have to learn to live more in the moment and less in a micro-managed bubble, and now, almost a year on I’ve realised that actually I am less ruled by it than I can ever recall being.

Now, I don’t have a secret to my success. It’s been a long battle and a lot of it is still very much trial and error. There are a couple of things that I have found really helpful though- the first of that being a course of CBT which saw me learn how to break my self-imposed rules (like actually being on time for things instead of constantly ten minutes early, or to accept a spontaneous invitation). I’m awaiting a start date for a more intense course which will delve more in to the root causes but even the basics gave me the tools I needed to start to break free.

The second thing that made a massive difference was learning the art of mindfulness. It’s always been something I was wary and dismissive of, but having been persuaded to give it a go by various people I decided I had nothing to lose and started to dedicate 5-10 minutes a day to it. I initially went with the Headspace and Calm apps but also made the purchase of “A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled” by Ruby Wax which proved to be a witty, relatable account of her own struggles as well as containing a six week guided programme which has helped me no end.

Of course it’s not for everyone but I thought it worth sharing these thoughts as they spill out of my mind. As ever with me partly so my blog can serve as a “record of achievement”, but also in the hope that even one person might read this and find something that could help against their own demons.

And the result of all this? Well, it’s only recently that the rewards have become evident. From challenging my social anxieties and attending a Blog Club Brunch in Bristol to attending the Grandaddy gig the other week. Spontaneous plans with friends have been followed through instead of a “yes, I’ll do it” followed shortly by a swift “no, actually I can’t today”. I’ve also found myself in the early days of a new relationship, in which I could not be happier (and that was a true case of spontaneous actions paying off) and I’m now able to relax, read, listen to music or watch a film without a constant state of panic and dread that I might have forgotten to do something vital.

I’ve literally just sat here and banged out this post in the last 45 minutes without any real intention of doing so- that’s definitely something I couldn’t have done six months ago! But with that comes the risk that it’s a whole lot of nonsense, utter drivel and full of poor grammar and punctuation mistakes…but you know what? That’s ok. Real life isn’t perfect and it doesn’t need to be perfect to be wonderful, and for me, that is the greatest lesson of them all.

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The Details

I’m not entirely sure what to say about this outfit. It’s one of those that isn’t typical “Laura” style and yet it’s one I really liked. As I’m still working very much part time at the moment I’ve really been embracing the casual approach when I’m at home- it’s gone from being a bit of can’t be bothered kind of thing to something that I can relax and enjoy.

Tee: Daisy Street | Jeans: Noisy May at Very | Shoes: New Look

It’s a bit of an embroidery detail overload here but I’m rollin’ with it. The jeans were a bit of an impulse buy to be honest, not my standard skinnies by any stretch of the imagination. I was suckered in by the “sorry I’m late I didn’t want to come” slogan (despite I’m never late for anything, ever!) and when they arrived I was quite taken with the laid back fit. It’s good to change things up from time to time right?

I pretty much lived in this Daisy Street tee last year, on rotation with the three others I own and now the warmer weather is here I don’t see that changing any time soon. I’ve already declared my love of slogan tees so I won’t ramble on but they really can’t be beat.

The shoes were another impulse buy. Enamoured with the floral embroidery and pretty pink colour I couldn’t resist placing a sneaky New Look order a few weeks ago despite my preference for either ankle boots of converse. I’m determined to get the wear out of these though, they are just so pretty (and comfortable) and pretty perfect to bridge that gap between boots season and sandal season.

Ok, so essentially this is a post about nothing much in particular. I just wanted to share the outfit without really having anything to say for myself. I’m still in that re-adjustment period of being back in work, settling in to routine and building up a pretty nice life outside of it too. I’ll try and bring something more structured to the table next time and in the mean time…what have you been buying lately?

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Bad Mood

My love for slogan t-shirts is still going strong and they are the first thing I seem to be drawn to upon entering a shop at the moment. Last month, on a trip to Cabot Circus with Mum we popped in to Pull & Bear- one of our favourite places to browse for affordable basics and cool casual vibes and I happened upon one of the most me tees I have ever seen. Behold…

Tee: Pull & Bear | Jeans: H&M | Converse: Schuh (similar)

Looking back at these pictures “beholding” might not actually be that possible as I’ve kind of failed to capture the slogan but this perfectly oversized white tee states “bad mood” and handily serves as a warning for when people are best to avoid me.

I do my best to be chipper, really I do but sometimes life gets the better of me and I am prone to either a short temper which leaves me snapping at everyone over the smallest of things or I retreat in to myself completely and barely say a word. I’m putting it down to a mixture of hormones at various points in the month as well as the pressures of still not being in work, dealing with eating disorder recovery 24/7 and not sleeping brilliantly but it’s pretty handy to be able to at least warn people they might not quite get the reaction they are expecting from me.

This was actually a really hard outfit for me to photograph- aforementioned eating disorder recovery is taking it’s toll and the struggle with seeing changes in my body [of which I know are further grossly exaggerated in my head due to the nature of the beast] has left my body confidence at rock bottom. Still, it has to be done and I can’t go backwards so I’m determined to keep on wearing the things I want to wear and not give in to the urges to hide behind baggy dresses and jumpers all of the time- although of course they have their time and place!

It’s a hard journey and harder still when you can’t explain to anyone why after 15 years this still torments you. Why you’ve been signed off from work for almost a year knowing exactly what you need to do to get back there [which you want more than anything else] and yet still struggle so much to do it. Having spent the majority of last year firmly in denial this year has seen a renewed determination and slowly but surely progress is being made. It feels fast, it feels scary and I’m not even sure why I’m writing about it on the blog, other than to serve as a reminder to myself but the end result will be worth it and this time there IS no going back. I have plans, things I want to achieve and there is no room for anorexia to be my side kick.

Apologies for getting so deep and personal once again, it happens from time to time and I did say I wanted to bring a bit more “real life” to the blog.

I suppose I should also apologise for all of the random people I’ve snapped at over the last few months, well, mostly. Friends and family please accept my sincerest apologies. Random people I encounter on a daily basis who seem to make it their life mission to wind me up? I’m so not sorry!

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[Insta]life lately

Well, I’m kind of getting there with making these posts a regular thing again, not that I live an especially exciting life or anything that would explain my desire to share. I can only put it down to being a nosy person myself and some of my favourite posts to read are people’s instagram round-ups. For the full idea of what I get up to you can give me a follow and if you want to know more about any of these pictures just leave a comment below [click on the images to see full size and hover over them for a caption].
Leave your instagram usernames below and I’ll be sure to give you a follow.

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All the Embroidery

Just in case you hadn’t gathered by now, I love this seasons embroidery trend. A lot. It’s probably the only trend I’ve actively followed- and to be honest, other than the one for all things pink (which I also love) it’s the only one I really know about.

Jumper: Primark (recent) | Skirt: Vintage | Ankle Boots: New Look

I picked up this skirt when I went to the Bristol Textile Recyclers Vintage Kilo Sale back in October and it’s been hanging in my wardrobe waiting to be worn ever since. It’s vintage Monsoon and I love it- there are some gorgeous embroidery detail skirts on the high street at the moment (I especially love this one and this one) but a lot of them are just SO short, and now I’m rapidly approaching my 30th birthday I’m starting to wonder if I’m getting a bit too old to sport a mini skirt at all times and so I’ve decided to embrace the midi a bit more. The only trouble with this skirt is that it’s a pencil skirt, something I usually steer away from and because of this I was at a bit of a loss of how to style it. As soon as I saw this hummingbird embroidered jumper in Primark for a mere £12 I knew it would make a good partner for it so snapped it up, resisting the urge to size up as I usually do- I think that might be the key with pencil skirts, opt for a more fitted top half as well, although slouchy longer tops do seem to work well too.

Footwear was another problem especially as it’s still a bit too nippy to bring out the ballet flats or sandals. In the end it was my trusty pewter ankle boots that saved the day, and despite these photos not being the greatest representation of the outfit (thanks to the persistent drizzle) it’s an outfit I really loved and I wish now I’d put a bit more effort in to making sure things were tucked in properly, popping on some brighter lipstick and persevering until I had photos I was happy with. I’m struggling a lot with my inner perfectionist at the moment and it’s leading to a lot of dissatisfaction with most aspects of my blog and with my life in general, ho-hum. It’s taken me forever to get around to writing this post as I didn’t deem the photos worthy enough and sometimes I get the urge to delete my entire blog and start again.

How do you silence your inner critic? And how are you wearing the embroidery trend?

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