How To Brighten Dark Evenings

Winter evenings, there are days when I embrace them and find the darkness comforting yet there are days where I feel defeated, struggling with the darkness. One thing I have learnt in the last few years is that you can let any emotion especially the more negative feelings manifest inside you and slip into it like an old habit. We all deserve better than that. Many people, myself included suffer from SAD and it's part of nature for winter to be darker than the other seasons. Finding ways to help make the days feel brighter and feel better in yourself can make such a difference.

Ever since it has become dark when I leave work I have been trying to make more of an effort to do things for me that will make me feel good inside and out. There will always be days when I want to go straight home, put on some comfy clothes and do nothing significant. And honestly, that's okay. It's important to just rest and let yourself be. Here are a few things you can do to brighten your evenings. You deserve it.

Go to a gym class
For some people this is the last thing they want to do after a long day at work. At least twice a week I go to the gym or a class or even do something at home. YouTube is amazing for finding a sequence/workout, I love Yoga With Adriene, I find I can connect with her and there is something for all abilities. Find what is right for you or Find What Feels Good. Getting out of the house and being around other people can feel motivational and good inside, mix it up.

Treat yourself
Every now and then I like to spend a bit of time, usually on a Sunday evening, to treat my skin, hair, nails and body. Running a hot bath, putting on a face mask, get your nails painted and anything else that makes you feel more refreshed for the rest of the week. My favourite mask at the moment is the Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque, after a bath I like to put it on and my skin feels so smooth afterwards.

Indulge in hot drinks
Coffee is my vice and in autumn and winter it is so easy for me to drink cup after cup. In the evenings I try to switch to something with little to no caffeine. Hot chocolate is a classic favourite and satisfies the sweet cravings. Meeting my friends at a coffee shop in the evenings always enriches my day, I tried the Apple Mulled Fruit drink from Starbucks, and it was honestly delicious, try it if you like chai, cinnamon and apple.

Get cosy with a book or tv show
When I'm feeling a little more tired than usual I'll put on a tv show, I don't watch a lot of tv except my favourites at the moment like Made in Chelsea, Grey's Anatomy and The Vampire Diaries. I'm currently reading After You by JoJo Moyes, the sequel to Me Before You, I'm really enjoying it and want to make more of a conscious effort to read before my eyes get too tired and I end up falling asleep after reading a few pages. If you have a cosy fleece blanket to wrap yourself up in that's even better.

Do something you've always wanted 
One thing I have discovered since working a nine to five is that it's important to use your time wisely. If you have had ideas of things to do, DO IT! I need to take my own advice with this but there is always another day. Anything you want, try a new creative hobby, go somewhere new for dinner. It can be as simple or as adventourous as you desire. It's your evening, your life, do what makes you feel happy.


A Season of Changes

Looking at these photos that I took last weekend, I feel the stillness in those moments where you're just taking in your surroundings. Trent Park is one of my favourite places to go when I want to be outside, maybe go for a walk, sit somewhere and breathe in everything around me. It will always be a special place to me, it's connected to where my university campus was in my first year until they closed it a few years ago. In spring the daffodils pop up, guiding you by the pathway, in summer everything is green and warm, in autumn it's gold, yellow and brown, in winter it will be all dark and bare. The changes are so subtle when you're in the middle of it, until you look back and realise that you have transitioned from one time to another, without even realising it.

The last couple of months, in particularly October, there has been some changes in my life. They have been some truly extraordinary changes and I did not see some of them coming. That's the beauty of the living, life happens when you least expect it. When the year begun, I felt quite lost in myself and although I slowly started finding my feet, that lost feeling still lingered. Until recently, last week to be exact.

Ever since autumn arrived, pieces started coming together in my head and heart. There have been positive changes at work, all very exciting. It's four months since I've started my first grown up job and we're going through a marketing re-brand and I'm learning so much, being hands on and feeling a sense of achievement. It has taken up a bit more of my energy and I've not been writing, reading and working out as much as I would like but I'm feeling more inspired to make the effort to find the balance. It takes time to conquer the world, one step at a time.

On the flip side I have also practised the act of letting go. There have been some parts of my life that have been around for a while and I had the realisation that they weren't good for me anymore. Then actually taking it into your hands and let that part of you go is literally like a weight is lifted off your shoulders, and you wonder why you didn't do it sooner. It shows there are some things you can't control.

Right now, I feel whole and good in myself. Without getting into the details, there are moments in your life when you know your life has changed and it's for the better. My head is seeing the world more clearly and the enchanted time we are in. All the pieces are coming together and I am looking forward to everything my future will bring. If I could bottle this feeling up in a jar to share with the world, I would. Everyone deserves to feel like their true self and have everything that is true.

Change happens, it's good. It takes a little time but it's part of life. Embrace all that there is around you and the changes that will come.


Playlist 005 / Autumnal Feelings

Lately I have loved making playlists, collecting all the songs I can't stop listening to, adding new ones as I discover them. Ever since autumn arrived I have been playing more serene songs that make you feel something, in summer I'm almost the opposite and gravitate towards slightly more upbeat and cheerful songs, you can listen to them again here. I've just listened to a few songs on the playlist and it truly took me back. The power that songs can have over me is what I love, a few months in the future I can listen to this new one I've made in autumn and take myself back to all the good memories and feelings that I'm living right now.

Looking at these song titles I've noticed that there seems to be a theme of love, I'm a romantic at heart and it shows in these beautifully written songs. All the words that were carefully chosen with someone in mind as they were letting their heart pour out with all the feelings they have inside them. Acoustic and cover versions of songs have also made an appearance a few times in this playlist. Sometimes the way a song is performed can make it even better, there is of course nothing like the original but it's always good to mix it up a little. Ryan Adams' cover album of Taylor Swift's 1989 has been on repeat since it was released. Style and This Love are my favourite, so raw and powerful. All so perfect for when you want some time for yourself, to listen and feel everything inside your heart, especially on this lovely autumn Sunday.

What songs have you been in love this autumn so far?


Let's take a moment for ourselves..

I honestly can't believe October has come to say hello again for another year, this time of year is one of my most loved times of year. It is almost bittersweet, the way everything looks and feels brings peace and I am more like myself during this time. And then the dark lingers and the cold days are just around the corner. As I say, nothing lasts forever. So I'm savouring every day before the seasons change once again. There are endless reasons why this is one of the most beautiful times of year, although a lot of the living is dying, it does it in such a beautiful way.

One evening last week, I went for a walk around these fields, it's so close to rows and rows of homes and the motorway is right next door. It feels so quiet, you can still hear the distant cars but it's almost soothing so you don't mind hearing it in the background. Last week I had nerve pain in my lower back and leg, it's mostly just an uncomfortable constant radiating numbness but it was enough to make me slow down a little and got me to look after myself more than I have been. I think it may have been provoked from running and possibly not stretching as well as I should have, it forced me to take some time off from exercising and just doing stretches to help with the pain. That's how I found myself going for a walk.

I've been wanting to go on walks and take some photos for a while and finally did. To feel still, being there in the moment, looking out at the path in front of you. Going for a walk cleared my head, I was able to breathe and be gentle to my body. I felt inspired and really wanting to feel better physically and mentally. The days can pass by quickly and I find myself in a routine, not really thinking about the reasons and intentions of what I'm doing every day.

While walking along the grass with dandelions, I thought about how I should take more moments like this to reconnect with myself, break the mundane and have a moment for myself. Look at the sky and the trees more often because it's something you truly love doing. Don't restrict yourself to all these plans for each day, look at the big picture, think about your dreams, where you want to be heading. Remind yourself why I am doing what I'm doing every day. If you can't find the reason then take a moment or a thousand to figure out what it is you're working towards. Don't let it all build up, taking regular yet spontaneous moments for ourselves can help make everything a little better.

I intend to use this time of year to take more moments for myself, no matter what it may be, to connect back to what is important at heart. Keep myself grounded and strive for what is important to me. Letting all the magic and inspiring feelings take over, let it all flow. I would like to invite you to do the same. You deserve it, look after yourself and take a moment.