Comeback feels like a strong word to be flinging about in this case. I feel like a comeback should be an all-singing, all-dancing affair, possibly accompanied by a parade and a megaphone but here we are. Just me giving you a quiet little virtual wave – and when I say ‘you’, I’m not quite sure what that even looks like anymore. Given my impromptu blog hiatus, I’m grateful for anyone who is still reading at this point so thank you, truly.
I’m currently tucked away on the sofa underneath my duvet with Luther, our middle cat child, purring on my lap as we both attempt to stay warm on a chilly November night. It feels like a good time to start writing on here again, for no particular reason other than being a couple of weeks into ‘Lockdown v5’ in the North West and having all but completed Netflix and Disney Plus at this point.
This year has been
comparable to a fucking dystopian fever dream odd, to say the least. I can’t fit it all into one of my usual rambling posts so here are a few ‘highlights’ of what’s been going on since I last updated the blog in summer.
Instead of going on a family holiday and mini-breaks abroad like we initially had planned this year, me, Adam and the girls decided to make the most of the situation and spend time exploring our local area through days out and overnight stays instead, where restrictions allowed. Adam and I spent a day exploring museums in Liverpool and soaked up some late summer sunshine in Lytham St Anne’s and Blackpool. We also stayed in Whitby for a long weekend to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary last month, which was a welcome break. I’ve enjoyed some beautiful walks around Heaton Park, Ramsbottom and Lancaster with Lucie. We even spotted the ‘Brassic’ crew filming Season 3 when we stopped for coffee on the way to Hebden Bridge; the pair of us quickly morphed into full-blown fangirl mode when Joe Gilgun (Vinnie) and Aaron Heffernan (Ash) stayed around for a chat. I’ll share more detailed, dedicated posts about some of these adventures on here soon.
In the early days of blogging, I would fire up my laptop with zero agenda or strategy and write about whatever took my fancy that evening- be it a brilliant meal that I wanted to share or a shop I loved or a recent weekend away. Some days I’d get 26 views and sometimes it’d be nearer to 600, but, as my blog has only ever been a hobby, the stats never mattered much.
Things in the industry have changed dramatically since then, with blogging recognised as a lucrative marketing tool and some impressive brand collaborations up for grabs for the right candidates. During lockdown, I decided to step back as I’d become tired of it all. Everything felt indulgent, tone deaf and superficial. I didn’t want to share sponsored content or see people pushing products, pretending that it was business as usual when the world was on fire – quite literally in some parts. I took some time away from the blogging bubble to clear my jaded thoughts and focus on other areas of my life.
The counter issue was that blogging had become a part of my identity and without it, I felt a bit lost. The hiatus did help me reassess what I want from my own blog longer-term. I’m not a typical influencer by any means; for starters, I’m old as fuck compared to most. I don’t care much for magazine-style images or luxury fashion and will never have a carefully-curated, consistent online presence. I do, however, enjoy having this space to publicly document my own authentic experiences and general nonsense so I’ll be sticking around and sharing my sporadic posts with you for the time being.
Like most other millenials in lockdown, I discovered a love of plants. Rock and bloody roll. My new hobby brought with it a massive sense of accomplishment as I learnt about the different varieties, names, how to care for them and I even uncovered a global community of fellow plant enthusiasts online. I started propagating my mature plants and now have a home that ‘looks like a garden centre’, to quote my youngest daughter. This has extended to our outdoor space too. We don’t have a garden per se but utilised what we do have by making pallet planters and filling them with flowers, herbs and fruit. It gave me so much satisfaction this summer to see new colours and leaves bloom, fat juicy strawberries emerging and bees buzzing around the clusters of lavender and borage.
I know that many people’s mental health has been negatively affected by COVID, myself included. I won’t be going into the finer details, however, I do feel it’s important to be transparent and acknowledge the raw stuff on here too.
Earlier this year, I became a robot without even realising it. I stopped blogging, writing, reading or doing anything remotely creative. By July, I’d all but stopped communicating with friends and family. This was partially due to the carousel of ever-changing lockdown restrictions and the fact that I was mentally drained most days; I couldn’t find the energy nor inclination to hold a decent conversation past lunchtime. I felt like I was stuck on a treadmill that was going too fast and, as soon I got used to the pace, it would be ramped up again without any warning or explanation. I’d predictably land flat on my arse every time and be left scrambling to get back up in time for the next lap.
The unabating unpredictability triggered a complete disconnect. By September, I’d neglected anything in my life that wasn’t absolutely essential, including my own health and wellbeing. I had lost all motivation, hope or enthusiasm for the future and eventually, I stopped feeling or caring about much at all. Life has been anything but normal so trying to maintain consistently high productivity levels in this climate was never going to end well.
Despite my best efforts, after six months of going through the motions every day, things came to a head. I took some time to remember how to be a living, breathing actual human being again and am very slowly beginning to see things in a better, healthier light.