Hiya pals! So, since being furloughed from my job back in March, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself to fill the void of time that stretched ahead ominously, but luckily, as I have this blog as my hobby to fill the time, I jumped straight onto the blog train and have devoted most of my time to it since lockdown began. It’s been such a positive outlet for myself at this time, engaging with so many lovely people online and sharing our honest feelings about what life’s been like.
There has been a new bunch of you reading now I’ve finally devoted some proper time to the blog and because you may not know me all that well, plus I personally love a good nosey into others’ lives (nosy parker over here), I thought it might be a nice time to do a Q&A.
Just some light relief and a bit of fun.
So I reached out on Instagram Stories and asked you to send in your questions – and I’ve picked a few of them here to answer. Clue: some are juicy. Zesty. Fun. So without further boring preamble, let’s get into it shall we?!
“How did you and Sam meet?”
We met back in 2014 at Sixth Form. I moved schools to branch out of my village life and ended up in Leamington Spa to study my A-Levels, where I met Sam because he was often playing with his band in the music recording studio. Yes, our Sixth Form had a recording studio – it was pretty sick (and pretty much the only reason I chose to go there). I also spent the majority of my time in said recording studio – because doing Music for A-Level was not a walk in the park. So I kinda knew Sam because he would often be side-eyeing me whilst he was playing guitar (lol).
We began talking on Messenger just as friends and I remember staying up ’til 2am talking about anything and everything with him, just feeling 100% comfortable in his (albeit virtual) presence. I didn’t think anything more of it, other than ‘I’ve never felt this comfortable with someone before’.
Fast forward to Halloween 2014 and a very messy house party, and we realised it was maybe quite a bit more than friendship. We did the whole Sixth Form ‘we’re seeing each other’ malarkey for a bit before ‘making it official’ (vomit) in November 2014.
Fast forward 5 and a half years, and here we are, living in Bristol and starting to make a life together – which feels so insane after so many years of doing long distance at university.
People often ask how we’ve managed to stay together so long, and I think a large part of it was that when I lost my Dad in 2016, we both had to grow up incredibly quickly and support each other emotionally through years of grief. I think it made us realise not to argue over insignificant things, to truly appreciate each other and not take each other for granted, and to work at our relationship with effort and care. And, importantly, not break up over the most stupid shit. He makes me laugh every day and he’s been an immeasurable support over the challenges I’ve faced over the last 5 years, and I’m very grateful to have ‘im.
Woah that got deep quick, I apologise.
“What’s it like living in Bristol?”
It’s an absolute DREAM. A lot of stress, upset and panic went into trying to both secure grad jobs AND a flat in Bristol, as it’s a pricey af place and we did it without any financial help. It took a lot of planning and number-crunching, but we’ve done it. Sam went to University in Bristol and every time I’d visit, I could see how much he adored the place and I, too, fell in love with it 1000%.
I’ve said for a long time now, my two favourite places in the world are Paris and Bristol. And now I can’t believe I get to call one of them my home.
There are so many reasons why I adore living here, but if I could sum them up, it would involve two things: the community spirit, and the unique vibe of the city.
Everyone in Bristol is so damn friendly, and everyone I’ve spoken to who lives in Bristol proclaims how much they love the place. Bristolians are creative, unique, stylish, eco-minded and conscious of the planet and people. They care about big things and they’re not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. It inspires me, and it makes me be better.
And the city is just beautiful: it’s so eclectic and arty, with independent restaurants and shops being the focus of the city, incredible Bansky and others’ street art lining the streets, every single borough having its own fun identity and the harbour feeling like a mini seaside haven from the hustle and bustle of city life.
I always think that Bristol has everything: it’s a city without the stress of London; it’s an idyllic seasidey-haven without being isolated or quaint. The music and arts scenes are thriving, so if you’re like myself and you thrive off creative communities, you’ll adore it here.
I’d 1000% recommend a visit – or just moving here, both work.
“Why did you start a blog?”
I had been thinking about starting one when I was 17, because I adored writing. I adore speaking honestly about topics I’m passionate about, I’m inspired by journalism and other honest bloggers, and I wanted an outlet to splurge my writerly emotions.
When I was younger, I used to write stories and invent my own magazines (lol) and so it’s always been something I knew I wanted to do. However, I was so nervous to put myself out there.
When my Dad passed away in 2016, I felt a new-found determination to do everything I could to make him proud, and as the worst had happened, I felt myself emboldened for a while and uncaring about previous things I’d worried so much about. So, I started this blog in November 2016 and throughout my time at University, I blogged about everything and anything, when I could.
It’s only now in 2020, when I relaunched my blog in January, that I finally thought about exactly what my blogging passions were. These lay in speaking openly and honestly about taboos, breaking down society’s bullsh*t and throwing in some life and style posts for the light-hearted funsies.
I adore how writing can make people FEEL like nothing else, how words have the power to change minds, and how we can use writing as a force for good. So, that’s what inspires me to continue blogging now, even though I’ve left my University days behind.
“What’s your dream career?”
I want to get into journalism, desperately. My absolute dream would be to write for women’s lifestyle magazines: my absolute fave EVER was Company Magazine (RIP) and Cosmopolitan, Elle and Red still speak to me. I believe women’s magazines have the ability to shape a generation, to teach young women how to be kinder to themselves and others and to inspire people to reach for their dreams.
I love how journalism can be used as a force for good, and whilst I get increasingly frustrated with news media and its ability to scaremonger, foster hate and ignore inclusivity, in magazines, I feel big, positive changes are being made.
It’s frustrating, because whilst I adore Bristol and want to stay there forever, journalism roles are very few and far between and when they do come up, it’ll be for an experienced journalist with x years of experience. The next step for me would be to take the plunge and move to London, which I’m building towards when I can afford that step.
So I guess I have two dream careers: Number 1 is getting to London for a few years and working in-house for a magazine and Number 2 would be being able to move back to Bristol, the love of my life, and go for the roles there once I have experience, or freelance for my favourite magazines from afar.
I’ve got to note, however, that it’s extremely difficult to secure a role in journalism as it’s such a competitive industry, and for a working class person, it’s almost impossible. You have to do oodles of unpaid internships before you stand a chance, and I don’t have relatives in London or family money behind me. So I have felt disheartened over recent years and I have wondered whether I should cast my dream aside, so we’ll see where I end up – but I hope I don’t give up trying.
And finally, extra dream career points go to writing a book: that would be my absolute dream – and by that, I mean absolute PIPE dream lol.
“What’s your favourite fashion trend of 2020?”
To be honest, I don’t religiously follow trends, because I know they’ll go out of fashion quicker than you can say ‘Spring/Summer 2020, dahhling’ – so I tend to be inspired by people, colour schemes or always-in styles, such as my fave: the smock dress.
However, there have been some trends so far this year that have caught my eye, as they inevitably do, and I’ve got to say, my absolute fave so far is the oversized collar situ that is making the rounds. It’s such a versatile lil shirt, because you can wear it SO many ways: on its own for max statement, under a plain t-shirt you didn’t know had the wow factor, peeking out from a dress or dungarees – the styling possibilities are endless. Can you tell I’m a fan? Lol.
“Who are your personal style icons?”
This one’s easy. I’m obsessed with two individuals’ personal style. Firstly, is the queen of quirky fashion that is Megan Ellaby. I’m drawn to unique pieces and a LOT of colour and print, so Megan’s styling is right up my street. And she’s a fellow fringe-wearer so that’s cool. She’s been my style inspiration ever since I clocked her blog back in 2012 or something ridiculous – and she steadfastly remains my inspo today.
And secondly, my longest icon and the very person who got me into fashion was, yes, Vanessa Hudgens. Ever since pre-teen Maddie watched High School Musical, she adored everything about Vanessa. From her styling in her films, to her Coachella LEWKS (which I am very sad we can’t witness this year) the other side of my style is the whole bohemian, “look at me flouncing around a field” vibe – and I can’t get enough of it. This side of me particularly comes out in summer, my absolute fave time of the year, and I adore wearing floaty dresses and pretending I’m abroad in the classic shit Brit summer sunshine.
“How do you keep yourself positive during lockdown?”
To be honest, as I’m sure we all feel, it’s been hard. I’m a really sensitive person, and I desperately want to control things we often can’t control, so I’ve felt helpless seeing the situation unfold across the world. It’s been desperately saddening, and I’ve found it hard to keep the sadness at bay and the positivity in full force recently. Similarly, being furloughed from my full-time job meant I lost my sense of routine and almost what felt like purpose when the rest of our lifestyles were crumbling around us. However, as April turned into May, I felt that finally I was starting to get some routine back and my positivity levels more balanced.
What’s really helped me are these four things: *limiting my news-reading *doing what I can to help in my own small way *creating a new routine for myself *practising gratitude. By keeping my news-reading down to once a day, I don’t obsess about the news as I used to at the beginning of lockdown, yet I can still stay informed – meaning the overwhelming feelings are kept more at bay. I started The C Word podcast and blog series to try and help in the only way I knew how: by being creative and by trying to offer advice and a safe space for support. I wanted to do something to try and help. I’ve created a new routine for myself, luckily because I have this blog as an outlet, and because I freelance as a sub-editor and copy-writer. I keep myself busy 9-5 weekdays with ‘work’ and then by the weekend, it actually does still feel like a weekend. And I practice gratitude every day, by thinking about the things I have to be grateful for, and we have to be grateful for in this world. Sometimes it’s hard, but with every small improvement we make in beating this virus, it’s something to cling to.
“Is there anything you’ve enjoyed about lockdown?”
Lockdown has not been an enjoyable experience for anyone, as sometimes the media likes to make out, but it’s been a learning curve for all of us. The slowed down pace of life has forced us all to confront what matters to us most, it’s helped us realise that there were many things we put too much stress on that really just don’t matter, and it’s given us a new perspective on life.
For myself, it’s helped me learn that I CAN and I SHOULD take time off for myself to relax; it’s helped me realise that I really want a creative career because I adore writing and creating and trying to help through creativity; and it’s given me some space to fall in love with Bristol all over again, because we’re exploring on foot, instead of just relying on public transport to get around. So whilst it’s not been enjoyable, it’s allowed for moments of positivity and sunshine and reflection.
And, naturally, the most pressing question of all:
“What’s your favourite food?”
This person asked what perhaps they may have believed to be an easy question, but one which I am STRUGGLING to answer. I’m a big foodie. And by that, I don’t mean green smoothies and avocado on the next health bread, but in the unhealthy food sense. I like my comfort food, I love going to a good restaurant and I love me food. I’ve got to say if we’re narrowing it down to favourite food to eat out in a restaurant, I’ve got to say Italian, because who doesn’t love a loaded pizza, with some fresh veggies and plenty of cheese?! My stomach is literally grumbling while I type – and now I want to order pizza, ffs.
Thanks to everyone that submitted questions for today’s post – I hope the answers have been somewhat useful! It’s been fun – I’ve finally indulged myself in the whole blogger Q&A trope – the joy! I’ll be back in a few days with another post, but until then, I hope you have as positive a week as possible!