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Often us folks who spend (a blummin' great big portion of our) time online refer to the space we share as our community. 

I think I like this definition of what community is the most from those I searched out - 'a unified body of individuals'. Nothing fancy, just does what it says on the tin; it's a space we all arrived at individually, but now share together as one.

That's what is so great about this world wide websiphere of ours - it unites us via the means by which we choose it to; be it our blogs, through social media, or via some other path of communication. And it shrinks our HUMONGOUS world down into manageable bites, allowing the dreams we had as children - to have pen pals across the world (anyone else ever that one?) - to come true, as well as offering us the opportunity to connect with others who share common interests, goals, wishes, thoughts......and puts smiles on our faces in doing so. 

Now, do tell me, what isn't wonderful about that?! 

For all

I must admit that I can sometimes forget - as someone who is active on social media - that it could feel as though the community I often so strive to create and be a part of across there may mean that there's a distinct lack-of such a feel over here. But trust me when I say, however, that I take your investment in me and my tales to be no less important than of that put in by those I may tweet hello each day. My words come to life via those who read them; I love writing, I love moulding and filling this space with my thoughts, but you - all of you - make it that extra bit special.

Boy - that's quite some talent you've got. 

To put it in terms of cake - because, why wouldn't you? - you're the buttercream icing (or frosting, whichever takes your linguistical-fancy) on top of my red velvet, and lets be jolly honest here, my tales just wouldn't be the same without that extra layer of good-ness on top. 

Thank you. 

Collaborations with friends 

I've come to realise (a little slowly, it seems!) that, for those of you who don't ever get to see my tweets (golly, are you missing out!), it's unlikely you're ever have the opportunity to hear about my collaborations with fellow bloggers, unless I share about them on this space. 

So, that's exactly what I'm doing today! 


Invest in those who invest in you

Trina - a fellow blogger, creative-extraordinaire, and one of the greatest people I have ever had the pleasure of calling my friend - and I are collaborating over on her beautiful space. I picked a quote to share - the beautifully put 'Invest in people who invest in you', from Alison of The Alison Show - and we're chatting about what those words mean to us on Trina's Of Trees and Hues.

Not only that, but we're inviting all of you to take part, as Trina has opened it up as a blog hop. So, please do head on over and share your thoughts on what we had to say.

We'd love for you to join us! 


How do you deal - with guilty pleasures

This month's post in Kate's 'How do you deal?' series is the third I've now collaborated with Clear The Way on - beside a bunch of luverly bloggers - and each new entry has offered an intriguing and thought-provoking topic to interact with.

Published in Kate's Feminist Fridays category, the question posed allows for us to discuss thoughts on ideas in relation to our feminism; before 'guilty pleasures' we spoke of disapproval, and - before that - leering, and each time I've received the email from Kate with her new question I've had a really fantastically brain-ticking-time putting together my answer to it.

The series is such a motivating one to be a part of, therefore I absolutely encourage you to become so; it certainly will get you thinking more about topics you may never have broached before, or get you thinking about those you have in a different way


Before I go

I know the internet can be daunting, so if you're struggling to find yourself a place in the community, or to wade through the great magnitude of voices in search of those that call to you, I'd love to help you do just that!

Tweet me, email me, or say hello via the comment section, and I'll introduce you to those friendly voices I chat to daily! 

Let's all invest in this community.

Catching up: With friends


From Ever Thine's photography exhibition 

Tea and cake, cake and tea

As I write I'm tucking into a chocolate cupcake balanced precariously on the edge of the sofa arm on my right (decorated with chocolate buttercream, sprinkles, and mini smarties - don't say I don't go all out when it comes to cupcake choices), a cup of tea - in a far more sturdy position - on my left (which I've been lifting slightly cack-handedly), and am being 'serenaded' by the sounds of pained screaming from the boy's laptop, upon which he is watching 2012 (I know, he's a little behind the times...). 

A frenzied week

This is the first night this week that the boy and I have had together (sign of the times when we're spending it on technology - I swear we're enjoying each other's company!), and the last we will have for the next couple. Though lacking routine, it seems that - even with barely-planned days - we're spending little time together. Of course, much of that is down to the ways of student life (as he is one who can spend hours in the library. Me, in Costa), but is also due to the boy packing a lot into his weekly calender (university, work, meeting with his public speaking group, Robin Hood Speakers, and a social life).

Ever Thine, on Tori's Tales

Spending time with friends

However, I can't really complain, because - whilst he's been popping in and out of his work uniform - I've been the lucky one, as a lot of my (abundance of) spare time has been spent doing nice things, like attending Lucy's (absolutely stunning) photography exhibition up in Sheffield (at the magical Moonko!), where I spent time admiring her beautiful work, meeting her super-lovely friends, and snacking on her homemade biscuits and cakes (which you can spy in the top image - she is nothing if not spectacular, that friend of mine!).

I also found myself meeting two other blog friends for the very first time, face-to-face, in the last week - on Saturday the super-sweet Georgia headed over to this town of mine, and accompanied me to Homemade, where we chatted over (huge chunks of) Victoria Sponge and cups of tea (I think you could say we put the world to rights), and on Wednesday I spent time with the gorgeous Annie over lunch (do you sense a theme? My days out always seem to feature food. Not that I'm complaining) at Broadway, nattering about this ever-glorious blogging world of ours, and the city we both share. 

Catching up: With friends, squirrel University Park campus, University of Nottingham


I've also found myself in the company of plenty'o uni friends of late - all who brighten my day quite substantially! - in lectures and seminars - of course - but also over coffee (it has to be said that we spend more time nursing cups of caffeine than we do anything else!), in the library, the Humanities building (aka the pain-in-the-ass-to-get-to-building), at the cinema (who has seen Gone Girl? What did you think?)....and every single moment spent with them has been pretty darn wonderful. The one thing that has got me through the past two years of my course is their company; they are among the best people I have ever met, and I am so grateful that I get to spend my days with them.

Philosophy gals (and Jon).....THANK YOU. You are all bloody fantastic! 

(oh, and in case you're wondering, this little squirrely looking fella - i.e. a squirrel - also kept me company this week, on University Park campus. Him and ALL his friends!)

And so, there we are - all caught up; me with friends, and you with me! 

What have you been up to lately? Who have you found yourself in the company of?

On routine, or not having one


There is something about having too much time that just doesn't work for me. 


Though I have a timetable - of sorts - to stick to, the fact that I have little outside of that timetable to 'restrict' my movements - even by the tiniest of motions - means that I often find myself unable to sit down and do anything - start anything - because I can convince myself into believing I can do said thing at any. other. time.

And so, a routine has yet to materialise, even though I'm now in the third week of my autumn semester. 

The other - rather funny, but also entirely frustrating - aspect of my current situation is that, without passion for what I am doing, I cannot seem to spark off a motivation within me to devise myself a routine, to make proper use of my abundance, even though I rather desperately need to. 

Thus, a battle within my mind ensues.

One between the voice that calmly states 'oh, you have plenty of time to get a move on', and the one that shrills 'what are you doing? Hurry up and get on with things'.

A routine would be key, I believe, for me to structure my day, but I have no idea how best to strike a balance

How do you go about arranging your day? 

For those of you without a 'traditional' working week, what works best for you?

Can you live without routine, or do you need to set boundaries? 

Let's talk - share your thoughts on routine below. 

Between Lenses - Mornings


Between Lenses, on Tori's Tales


This month's theme for Between Lenses - a beautiful photography-based collaboration between Of Trees and Hues and Tara Victoria - is 'Mornings'.

Make sure you head over to Trina and Tara's pages to see what they captured. Take time to explore the minute detailing that Trina has so delicately photographed, and sit a while with the message Tara shares - her words on how we start our day are well worth focusing on. 

For me, mornings have always meant routine (of sorts), but because I haven't settled into one as of yet - a new university timetable, that's a little all over the place, will do that to a gal - I don't have a typical morning of mine to share with you. 

Which is why I'm sharing an atypical one.  

Between Lenses, Mornings, Bamburgh beach, on Tori's Tales

Sun, sand, and the north east 

Last weekend, we (that'll be the boy, Eric, and I) took a trip up north (one I'll be sharing more of, soon).

I snapped this shot early(ish) Sunday morning - on Bamburgh beach - when the tide was out, the sun was just beginning to gain strength, and the only other people around were chilly-looking owners (bundled up, as we were, in wellies and scarves) of merrily-bounding dogs. 

In that moment

Our feet danced to the sound of the waves softly washing up on the sand. 

Our eyes tickled their crests on the shoreline. 

Our hands clasped as we welly-walked (my most favourite thing to do, EVER) along the golden grains

Mornings were made for moments like those. 

Share what 'Mornings' means to you, and join the Between Lenses blog hop

5 tips to help you through blogger's block


5 tips to help you through blogger's block, on Tori's Tales

What to do when the big bad blog blues strike!

You start the day ready and jazzed to kick things off; down goes your cuppa, bum perches on seat, fingers navigate the mouse to the 'new post' tab, and wait. For inspiration to strike. For words to come. You scroll through a few of your favourite bloggers sites. You check out pinterest, then twitter and facebook, too (because they come as a trio, don't they?)! A few thoughts appear - you head back across to the blank screen, to fill it's very white walls with tales, but the thoughts fail to work together well, so you continue to wait. You scroll some more. An hour flies by.

It's at this point you start to worry - what if you can't write this post today? What if the words don't materialise? What will you do?! You need to get something written otherwise you'll have wasted precious time. And so you try and force yourself to concentrate, but - of course - the old negative forces that are impatience and frustration appear, and - before you know it - feelings of fed-up-and-I-can't-be-bothered-ness arrive, none of which you're able to shake. 

Sound familiar? Then I've got 5 great tips to help you through your blogging block!

1. Change your environment

I'm not suggesting you book yourself a holiday – though the weekend trip I’ve arrived home from has left me feeling inspired and entirely ready-to-roll – I'm just suggesting that you move! Whether you give yourself a well-earned half an hour break and shift your arse across to the next room (or nearest seating apparatus), or you take yourself off to the local coffee shop (Trina’s option of choice), whack on some music for a boogie, pop on a pair of comfy shoes and walk to a local park, or snuggle down under the duvet for a couple’o nod's, it's up to you; anything is better than staying in the one spot and silently struggling to make those moments count for something other than, well, a whole lotta nothing! 

2. Give yourself a break

We all have a tendency to beat ourselves up when things aren't going our way. Can't organise your day? Gah, how stupid you must be!! Can't come up with a new post idea? Surely that means you're not good enough to be creating in the first place? As the saying goes, we are our own worst enemy, so the best thing we can do when things are a little tough, or when we're going through a blogging dry spell, is to allow ourselves time away without equating it to mean we are failing.

So I suggest that you quash that mean little voice inside your head that says 'why bother? If you can't do it now, you won't ever be able to' in any way that you can - busy yourself with a book, or an episode of your favourite tv show. Meet a friend for tea and cake. Go to the cinema to see that film you promised yourself you would (and yes, solo trips to the cinema can be fun!). Spoil yourself a little. For things to work out in the way we wish them to, we have to learn to see stepping away from something not as negative but as something positive for - even conducive to - our future endeavours. In stepping away - giving ourselves that break physically and mentally - we gain distance and perspective and, more often than not, start to crave to get back into it, which is exactly the position that we want to be in!

3. Indulge in a little self-love

Remember when you hit that first milestone, or when you wrote the first post that you felt came from a truly authentic place? Remember how excited you were the first time someone told you they loved what you created (and every subsequent time it has happened)? 

Marvel at your accomplishments.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with acknowledging all that you have achieved. Spend time reading back over the posts you really enjoyed putting together, or the one's that had some seriously good engagement. Maybe even re-read your very first post, just to see how far you've come! We all need a pat-on-the-back from time to time, and we shouldn't be afraid or ashamed to offer ourselves that; with a nod to the aforementioned talk of being one's own worst enemy, sometimes the one thing we need to hear from ourselves is a 'you did good'.

It pays to be kind to others, so why wouldn't it pay to be kind to yourself?! 

5 tips to help you through blogger's block, River Itchen

4. Share your struggles 

You are never alone. Blogging can be an isolating experience - even with all the connections one may have developed across the internet - and sometimes we can convince ourselves into believing we are the only one dealing with whatever problem we are currently struggling with. Let me tell you, this is never truly the case. Yes, our experiences are different because there are our own - and are specific to our situations - but others most definitely share, if not that exact same struggles, then variations of the same.

In reaching out you are helping both yourself and another work through the situation. Take Emma and I’s twitter-exchange; I came away feeling happier after chatting to her (and I’m sure Emma did so, too) because I knew I wasn't alone in tackling the problem of writer's block. Often the main reason I’m able to shake the worries off and get back down to blogging is because of the encouragement offered by others; indulge in the community and give yourself the chance to receive a little positive feedback - there’s nothing wrong in accepting praise from others, for it allows us to authentically praise another’s work. Accept kind words with open arms.

5. Accept that sometimes we all need time away 

We are all human, and we can only push ourselves to a certain point before our bodies and minds start to push back. Yes, not being able to come up with content sucks, and often a block happens at a time when we least need it to, but I'd say give in, because that's NOT the same as giving up. For a lot of people blogging is a full time job (even when it isn't officially so); it's not just the creating of content that takes time, but the being a part of a community (reading, commenting, sharing, communicating -all of it takes time, and sometimes a lot of effort, but it is key to the whole process) and so, for people to thrive in such an environment, down-time is necessary.

Oh, and one more thing - when you return to your space, try not to give in to the urge to be apologetic; none of us want to lose our readers, because it's you who makes our space on the internet extra special, but in apologising for taking time off, you suggest to others that doing so is wrong! However, REMEMBER THIS - if you wouldn't begrudge a fellow creative for taking time for themselves, then don't begrudge yourself the same!

Do you have any tips you'd like to share? What do you do to get yourself through a blog-block?