Learn to Love Yourself. Photo by Danielle Bussell

Learn to Love Yourself

I honestly don’t know a single person who doesn’t wish they could change something about themselves, including me, and that makes me sad. Here’s a few thoughts and reflections on how I began to love me for me and began a happier life because of it. 

 

We’ve all been there, we’re starting to go through the changes that make us who we are, and we start to notice things we never did before. It’s usually because someone else has noticed it and feels kind enough to let us know. Sometimes they tell us because they really don’t see the damage they may cause, but sometimes they do it because they want to cause damage, and that is when things start to change with the way we look at ourselves.

I, like many people, was picked on at one point in my life, and it’s a horrible period in your life where you question everything about yourself. You expect when you get older for this teasing and picking to stop, but sometimes it doesn’t. I was picked on at school, but I got over it when I matured and fell into a comfortable friendship group. Don’t get me wrong, it will always be with me, but that childish bullying was nothing compared to how I was treated when I was of an age where I thought this should all be done and dusted.

I started work somewhere I thought was going to be incredibly rewarding and I was so excited to begin my adult chapter of my life. It started with comments about how I should wear more makeup, I thought, ok I’m getting older now and becoming more mature, I could try a little cover-up or lipstick now and again. Then were comments about my accent, something inherently me. Again, I worked to better myself as I thought that’s what I should do. I really wish I’d noticed the danger signs like everyone else did, but I thought it was a part of the business I was going into and I should suck it up. Things became more and more about my appearance and the way I spoke and carried myself. Comments about my foot that turns in (you may remember I mentioned that in a post about getting trainers fit) was were my mind snapped back to me and I began to get more annoyed that I was being turned into a puppet. I love my turning in foot, my out of control hair, my lack of caring towards makeup… it’s 100% me!! Eventually it got to a point where I’d become a shell of myself. I am a strong, confident, independent woman and I am proud of my upbringing and who I am inside. I’m so lucky that my now fiance sat me down and asked me what I wanted to do… and I wanted out! He supported me through all of it and I’m so lucky for that… but to cut a loooong story short, this is the moment I decided I loved me, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything!

When the realisation hits…

I can’t quite pin point that moment I finally realised I loved everything about who I am, it just… happened one day and I suddenly thought… wow… I’m awesome ;)

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are things about me that are pretty rubbish… my short temper being my internal issue and my super pear figure and lack of stunning ginger hair being my personal external issues, but why should we be made to feel bad for being who we are? There’s no-one who can be you better than you. I read that somewhere and it really resonated with me. Nowadays there’s so much thrown at us about how we should look, how we should behave. As far as I’m concerned as long as I wear what I think I look good in, as long as I look after myself and the ones I love, and as long as I behave towards others the way I’d hope they behave to me, why should it matter to anyone else? As long as I am not hurting anybody, why should they try and hurt me?

There are a lot of people out there who will try and influence you to wear what they think you should be wearing, to be the size they think you should be, or to eat what they think you should eat. I want my readers to be under no illusions. I am not perfect! I will never pretend to be either. I LOVE chocolate, cheese, crackers, crisps, milkshake, ice-cream… NETFLIX!! I don’t spend every waking moment thinking about what I should and shouldn’t eat or thinking of new ways to get that perfect angle of photos (that doesn’t mean I won’t also discard ones I don’t think are nice). I’m just a person on a journey to try and be the best me I can be, without losing who I am inside.

There are loads more social media presences that are showing you how they actually look. I love the pictures of people sitting down showing that they, like us all, get a roll over their trousers when they holding it. This is making a positive change in how we view ourselves and is lowering that unreachable bar of perceived perfection.

When I pushed the negative thoughts out of my head, it opened me up to a whole new world of positivity. One thing I would highly recommend is taking up a hobby that helps you connect to who you are. For me, that’s yoga. It’s so grounding and really helps you focus your mind and body on happiness.

So… without further ado… my tips for learning to love you?

Step One: Try as hard as you can not to let the haters in.

Step Two: Treat yourself every now and then.

Step Three: Spend time finding out who you are, not who others want you to be.

Step Four: Try not to allow yourself to be warped by unrealistic media, social or otherwise.

Step Five: Surround yourself with people who love you for you.

Step Six: Tell yourself something positive about who you are everyday.

Step Seven: If you’re in a toxic environment – get out of there!

Step Eight: Find someone you can share your burdens with.

Step Nine: Take up a hobby that helps you connect to who you are.

Step Ten: Remember, you are you and that instantly makes you special.

 

I hope you found this refreshing if nothing else. I’d love to know if you have been on a similar journey for self love and if you have, what are your top tips?

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Starling and Robin on the bird feeder. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

Welcoming Nature In

It’s exciting to see what new birds are daring to trust the space you’ve created for them. Keep reading to see how I’ve been encouraging them in and what I plan to do next :)

I love wildlife! I’m very lucky to have grown up with parents who love nature and moved us to the countryside while we were young. Back in my family home is Essex I was always seconds away from field after field. So, now  I’m back near the countryside, I want to bring that nature back to my little garden.

My first step to welcoming nature into my garden is putting up a bird feeder. I love watching birds come in and out of the garden.

Step One: Making sure your home is suitable for birds.

Back at my family home we have lots of cats. Now don’t get me wrong, I adore my cats (especially my beautiful girl Tonks!), but we all know they aren’t great for wild birds. There are a few cats in my estate, but I’ve kept an eye out for a couple of months and non of them come into my garden, so I was confident putting my bird feeder up wouldn’t be a problem. To be honest, the biggest thing you need to worry about with birds and cats is bird boxes, as fledglings are all too easy for cats to find before you do. So, don’t worry too much about bird feeders and cats, but definitely take it into consideration.

It’s also important to consider the positioning of your feeder. I decided I would put mine in the far corner of my garden so it wasn’t too close to the house so they wouldn’t feel intimidated, but also I wanted to position it near trees so the birds would have somewhere to hide and feel safe while they were getting used to the new food in their surroundings.

Step Two: Buying a good bird feeder.

There are lots of different types of bird feeders and it’s important to get the right one for you. At first I considered getting a bird table, but then I remembered that, not only do cats climb on them, if you live in an area prone to rats (mostly the city or rural countryside), they might also like to climb on a bird table.

I chose a bird feeding station. It looks really nice in the garden and has spaces to hang lots of enticing food for your bird friends. It also has a water bowl which I think it a great addition.

I got my bird feeder from Wilkinson  for £10.00 which I think was a great find! It’s really sturdy and, for those in windy areas, it survived storm Doris here in the UK so you know it’s good.  (For those wondering, yes I did put my bird feeder up for the day a storm hit… because I’m that kind of prepared!).

So here’s what my feeder looks like straight out of the box :) …

Bird Feeding Station. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

Bird Feeding Station. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

I also bought some bird food from Wilkinsons while I was on there and I have to say, the birds are loving it! Find out more below…

Step Three: Get the good stuff.

It’s best to get a variety of foods so you can cater to all birds, don’t limit yourself if you don’t have to!

You can see from the picture above that I bought suet balls (great in the UK as it’s still pretty cold out here so it’s helping to keep the birds plump and warm – £1.00), small bird feed (this contains dried meal worms, sunflower seeds, sunflower hearts, and corn, among many others – £2.00) and ground and table special mix (containing raisins, oats and seeds – £2.00).

I’ve been amazed at how much the birds have liked the oats and raisin mix. I’ve had to replace it every 2 days because it’s all been gone. From experience I knew the blackbirds would love the raisins as my Grandad has one super cheeky blackbird who sits on his window ledge until Grandad throws him out a handful of raisins.

My mum told me that she managed to make a friend in a robin by putting seeds in her hand and not looking at it for a few weeks, but apparently it preferred cake and biscuits. So yeah, birds love raisins and cake…

Full to the brim bird feeder. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

Full to the brim bird feeder. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

After my massive Wilkinsons shop I decided to visit the garden centre where I live to see if I could find a cheaper version to the feed I’d already bought as it is a weeee bit expensive for a small bag when the birds are eating it at such a quick rate. I managed to find a 12 kg bag of bird food (mostly corn, sunflower seeds and sunflower hearts) for £3.99 which is a great deal! Because I didn’t want to miss out on the raisin and oat love I’d created with my bird friends already I bought a couple of bags of Tesco value oats and raisins to mix in. I also bought a suet block which the starlings and blue tits are LOVING!  Word of warning though, don’t touch it, it’s super goopy.

So here’s a couple of pictures of the two birds I’ve managed to catch so far…

Starling and Robin on the bird feeder. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

Starling and Robin on the bird feeder. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

So all-in-all my nature experiment is going well. I am super excited to see what other birds I get as the year goes on.

My next wildlife mission is to create some bug homes in my garden and to get more plants and flowers to attract bees and butterflies .

I hope you found this post informative in some way, even if all I taught you was that robin’s like cake. Do you have anything you could add to this from your experience? If so let me know in the comments :)

Until next time!

 

 

The incredible waterfall Gullfoss. Photos by Danielle Bussell

There’s Change in the Air

I have So much to be happy for at the moment. My life has been a whirlwind, and here’s how…

As I mentioned in my previous post, things have been a bit hectic over the last few months. I have had a lot of amazing things happen, which makes me a very lucky lady.

Number One: I went to Iceland and got engaged!

In January my FIANCE and I went to Iceland for a trip of a lifetime. We’d both never been before and it was the most amazing holiday. If you haven’t ever been to Iceland, I couldn’t recommend it more. It’s so beautiful and the people there are so lovely. We went to the Blue Lagoon which was such a refreshing experience. For those who have never heard of it, it’s a silica based hot spring which does wonders for the skin as well as the soul.

Blue Lagoon. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Blue Lagoon. Photos by Danielle Bussell

While we were there we saw a brief display from the Northern Lights and went on a golden circle tour which took us to Geyser, Gullfoss and Thingvellir National Park (where he popped the question). It was all so beautiful, it was really snowing so everything was covered, magic!

Number Two: I moved.

We used to live in a city center flat, which was wonderful, but I am so pleased to now be living in a house only a short walk from vast fields. I’ve traded in my rather ridiculously large kitchen for a more normal size one, which is a shame. But what I lack in kitchen space I gain by getting a garden and my own sewing/craft room. I can’t wait for the summer so I can start plodding around my garden, growing vegetables and trying to attract some wildlife. I will also be taking my yoga outside for a happier and healthier experience.

My New Garden. Photos by Danielle Bussell

My New Garden. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Number Three: I started Volunteering.

In May of last year I began volunteering for St. John Ambulance. It’s been such an incredible journey so far. Everyone I work with is so friendly and it really feels like a family. I have a jam packed year with lots of great events ahead of me, so I can’t wait to continue learning and helping people.

St. John Ambulance. Photos by Danielle Bussell

St. John Ambulance. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Number Four: I Got the Music in Me.

My final piece of news is that I’ve begun leaning two instruments. I have always loved music and as a child I was given the chance to learn the flute and the drums, but unfortunately it didn’t go very far. I’m now taking lessons on the drums and keyboard which I’m loving. It’s going to take me a long time to get to playing anything even remotely good, but I really am loving pushing myself to do something I’ve always wanted to do.

 

So… there we have it, lots of new things happening in my life. It’s going to be a hectic year! I can’t wait to see what happens, it’s going to be super busy but hopefully really fun and rewarding at the same time.

 

You don't need to have been sewing for years. Do some research and go for it.

7 Things You Need to Know Before Making Your Own Sportswear

want to make your own sportswear? Well, it’s easier than you think. here are a few things your should know first.

Have you looked at the sportswear available and thought ‘that won’t suit my shape’, ‘it’s too plain’, ‘If only I could change that’, well you can! But, before you start, here are some things you need to know about making your own sportswear.

One: Do Some Research On What You’re Getting Into

Look into all the bits you may need to know or buy before you start.

Look into all the bits you may need to know or buy before you start.

Making your own clothes has so many benefits; it’s made to measure so it’s going to fit, you can choose your own fabric and you can choose from a large variety of patterns. It’s worth going into lots of different shops to have a look at what fits you best, styles you like and fabrics that work for you. Have a look at what goes into making clothes. YouTube is great for that, there are so many tutorials out there on how to sew, so have a look and find a method that suits your ability and ideas best. Be careful though, excess use of YouTube will lead to increased watching of cat videos. Alternatively, if you prefer to thumb through some books, your local library will hopefully have some great choices for you.

Two: There Are So Many Great Fabrics Available

Sportswear fabric is getting seriously funky!

Sportswear fabric is getting seriously funky!

With sportswear becoming more and more fashionable, great lengths are going into providing materials of great quality. There are lots of things to consider when buying fabric, so make sure you consider exactly want you want to wear it for, because fabrics are made with different ‘properties’, which will affect your choice. These properties vary from Wicking, Breathability, Elasticity, Hardwearing and lots of others, there’s also lots of well-known names like Lycra (spandex, known for its elasticity) and Gortex (known for its breathability). Once you know what you’re looking for, the fun begins!

Melissa Fehr has a great blog post about where you can get fabrics worldwide and also a great all round feature post on a blog called Colette which talks you through all aspects of making your own sportswear. I definitely recommend checking them out!

Three: A Simple Block Pattern Will Go Miles

Copy the pattern to get extra use from it.

Copy the pattern to get extra use from it.

For me, when I’m starting out with a new sewing project, I look for the cheapest pattern, but still fitting the look I want.

Altering patterns can be simple depending on what it is you’re altering, but it always pays to start with a cheap pattern you don’t really care about, so you can build from it and use it over and over. My advice for buying patterns would also be to buy some easel paper (or any large roll of paper) as well. That way, you can accurately trace off your pattern from the block sheet and reuse it multiple times without ever cutting the original pattern. It’s a great way to get lots of uses from one pattern piece and also allows you to cut it up and adapt it for toile’s (tests) without having to buy a new pattern every time. If you’ve never bought a pattern before, go along to your local fabric shop and ask their advice or have a look online at the different options out there as there are quite a few.

Four: You Don’t Need a Degree To Sew

You don't need to have been sewing for years. Do some research and go for it.

You don’t need to have been sewing for years. Do some research and go for it.

You may not know this about me, but I do in fact have a fashion degree, that being said, most of the techniques you would use for a simple garment I learnt during secondary school and sixth form. If you’re not planning on doing anything too technical with the garment or pattern, you can definitely pick up on how to do it by reading the pattern instructions and by watching everyone’s favourite online evening stealer… Youtube! As I mentioned before, there are so many great tutorials out there for how to make garments and alter patterns. I’ll add a few tips and tricks on the blog too, but if there’s anything you’re not sure of, don’t let it discourage you!

Five: It Can Be Expensive

It can be expensive to get all the things you need and for a good quality fabric.

It can be expensive to get all the things you need and for a good quality fabric.

I’m sorry to be the one to say this, but fabric is not cheap! There’s also lots of things you need to consider when you start a new project, a few being:

Do you have the correct machine needles
Do you need special thread (e.g. elasticated/waxed/strengthened)
Do you need to toile it first (I’d always recommend this when starting a new project)
And so on…

All these things and more will affect how much or how little you need to buy. I went out to buy some fabric from a local shop hoping it would be cheaper than the online wholesale suppliers. I was a little shocked (as I always am with better quality fabric than polyester netting) that it was £10.00 a metre. Bearing in mind you need a good… 3 to 4 metres depending on where the bias is (again you’ll be able to find tutorials of this on Youtube and if you do buy from a shop, they will be more than happy to help you with anything like this), this could become pretty costly pretty quickly and can work out cheaper to buy off the rack. That being said, there are so many benefits to making your own clothes, it’s really fun and becomes a good hobby if you get into it. You also have the glory when people ask ‘where ever did you get those fabulous leggings??’ to say ‘I made them myself’ (that’s exactly how they’ll ask… exactly!).

Six: You Can Deconstruct/Reconstruct

Look through your old clothes for anything you could reuse.

Look through your old clothes for anything you could reuse.

This pretty much means exactly what it says on the tin. We all know the slogan ‘Make Do & Mend’, well this is a little different from that, but follows the same principles. If you have an old item of clothing that you love but it’s almost seen its day, why not turn it into something completely new? I love deconstructing old clothes and making something completely different out of them and it’s a great way to reuse your clothes in an eco way as you can get two lives out of one piece. It’s also really exciting because the possibilities are pretty much endless! In this section of the blog, I’m going to explore this more and show you how I’m going to change some old garments into some great exercise gear… I can’t wait!

Seven: Don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

Don't Worry... Be Happy!

Don’t worry… be happy!

The most important thing to remember when taking on a new sewing project, or anything you decide to do in life, is to enjoy it. Things will go wrong and there will be times that you’ll be so frustrated that you want to throw it out and never look at it again, but don’t. Put it to one side and come back later and it will suddenly click. There have been so many occasions I’ve wanted to stop a project, but I’m always over the moon when I finish it and I know just how much time and love (and the odd naughty word) went into it. If you approach it thinking that it’s going to be a fun way to experiment with your sportswear and just keep smiling, you fall in love with it.

I hope these tips will help you to start your journey to making sportswear, or any pieces you feel inspired to make. Go out there and see what the world of sewing has to offer, it’s so fun and rewarding and I know you’ll love it.