I am a house plant

This is the first time I’ve sat down at this computer, in the chair I usually sit in to write, since I moved house earlier this week. This morning I finally got the broadband working, so I don’t have to rely on my iPhone to connect me to the world (THANK THE GODDESS FOR IPHONES). I’ve been posting photos to Instagram constantly, the act of noticing, recording and sharing grounding me as i float though this strange transitional time.

Moving house is not for wimps, eh?

The move itself went without a hitch, the removals company I used were AMAZING, sending me two guys who were so professional and good humoured it was a delight to work with them (seriously — there are five flights of stairs to the flat in Bath and five flights to this new place. Good humour was needed ;-) Even the guy who rocked up with the hoist (to get furniture through the third floor window) was a sweetheart.

The move took two days, packing and loading the van on day one and driving to London/unloading on day two. My sister was with me on Monday, helping to clean the flat (she is a cleaning ninja) and hold my hand in case I freaked out. I got the train up to Londontown that night, leaving under a full moon — this felt particularly auspicious. There were a few overwhelmed tears on the way to Sas’s place, but she and Ash looked after me in their warm and cosy house. Next day we drove over to my new place and got the keys, taking a few feet shots in the empty flat (obviously) before the boys arrived.

Everything fitted in the flat, thank goodness, though there was a moment when it looked like the sofa wasn’t gonna make it:

We went from this…

To this…

So I am a Londoner once again. I’ve walked past my old house several times already — the first time I found so many feathers in my path it felt like a certain someone was welcoming me home. I had a few concerns about moving back to my old stomping ground, but being somewhere familiar is proving to be a good thing. Enough time has passed — I’m not the same girl who left. In all honesty it feels like my DNA has been changed, i am so remade.

The last few days I’ve been tentatively walking around my new/old neighbourhood, reacquainting myself with the area and figuring out where the doctor’s surgery is (and the nearest Starbucks, of course. There are three. Ridiculous, non?) There’s been a few teething troubles with the flat, but on the whole it’s all good. The light is gorgeous, even on cloudy days. The wooden floors are epic. The space is smaller in some ways (hello tiny bedroom with no radiator) but bigger in others, and I can already feel the potential for expansion that’s coming. I feel like a house plant that’s just been repotted — my roots are ready to push out into the new soil. My leaves want to reach higher.

I’m ready to grow bigger.

But first, I need some sleep. Remaking all your routines is exhausting! And where the hell is the iron/linen basket/spare pillows going to go?

My superpower

My friend Andrea launched her gorgeous new site, Superhero Life, today and to celebrate she put the call out asking us a question:

What’s your superpower?

There are many things I feel i’m pretty good at, but the one trait that seems to be infused through everything I do is… truth-telling.

I had a few moments when I was writing the book when I worried that I was sharing too much. When I wrote about the stuff I wasn’t proud of — failed friendships, family difficulties — or embarassed by — anecdotes about my body were particularly hard to share — I wondered if I was going to regret being so open, laying it all out for public consumption. I have absolutely no idea why I share the way i do — it just feels very natural to do it. As I wrote about recently, i don’t share everything, but truthfulness comes up in my work again and again.

You want to talk about grief? I’ll tell you everything I felt and experienced. PMS? Easy peasy. Why being single for eight years is actually rather hard? Bring it on. That I rarely shave my legs? Done.

One of the most challenging side-effects of our 24/7 access to others on the internet is how easy it is to think that “everyone else” has a perfect life. We can curate our lives in social media, showing the bestest shiny parts and editing out all the less-than-stellar moments. Who hasn’t scrolled through their Facebook feed and thought shit, everyone else’s lives are so awesome and mine is so boring. I only have to glance at my Twitter feed on the wrong day to feel like an absolute failure. <—- truth.

Sometimes I have to unfollow people on Instagram because their photos/lives are so photogenic and fabulous I end up feeling crap about my little single existence. <—- more truth.

But then I also know that others may look at my Instagram feed and think it’s all rainbows and unicorns over here in Conwayland. It’s not. Some days are really great. Some days just plain suck. You know — a normal life :) On the sucky days I tend not to post any images to Instagram, or post anything to social media at all. Maybe that’s letting the side down, somehow, I don’t know. I just try to get the balance right between being truthful and moaning.

So yeah… truth-telling. Lately I’ve been feeling the urge to do even more of it here on this blog.

But I won’t be posting photos of my unshaved legs on Instagram. <—- the truth to end all truths.


What’s your superpower?

The universe doesn’t mess around*

I’d thought it would take longer.

I was prepared to wait it out, to schlep it up to the city as often as was needed to find the right place. I’d spent two days in London the week before last, viewing 10 flats in total, none of which were right, but all of them had an element I’d liked — a spacious kitchen, a cool bathroom, a good view, the right address. Mix all that together and I’d have had my perfect new home. But I made good contacts with the lettings agents I met and returned to Bath knowing it was possible. Potentially. Possibly. Inevitably? I just had to wait. I couldn’t move till the end of October. “At least I know what’s possible,” I wrote in my journal, before listing all the things I wanted in a new home. I wrote down how I wanted to feel there, too.

And then Noah’s parents got married and I got all caught up in that, only to find myself feeling out of sorts as last week rolled around (big family events will do that to you, huh?) So i was sitting in this exact spot on the sofa when an email arrived at 7pm last Tuesday from Harriet, the lovely agent I’d met the week before. “Please call me asap to view,” she wrote. “The last time we marketed this flat it let within 12 hours so please call me ASAP!” I looked at the photos… sent emails out to trusted friends — what do you think? Should I? Could I really move sooner? Then had a speed-talking panic session with Jo the next morning (thank you, love) before hopping on the train to Londontown.

I felt like I was going on a first date.

This is odd, i thought, before admonishing myself to lower my expectations. It might be shit.

I was relieved it was raining — it really is the perfect weather to view a property, because if it looks good in this weather it’s going to be mindblowing in the sunshine. Yes yes, but you haven’t seen it yet.

It took a while to get inside the building. The keys didn’t seem to want to work. My heart had turned into a den of baby rabbits (<— this is very unlike me, i should add.)

And then we were in.

And as I walked from room to room, i just knew. I could see myself there, working, playing. I could see a future mystery man making coffee in the kitchen… my nephew playing on the floor… friends gathered around the table for dinner. I could see it.

“I’ll take it,” I said.

“I meant to say…” Harriet turned to me. “It’s not available till the end of October.”

“Oh my god! It’s meant to be!” (yes, i really said this.)

And just like that, i found my flat in London. It is done.

Of course, i’ve spent the last weekend picking holes in my decision, but when I was there I knew. I felt it. I saw it. So i am going to trust the universe — because clearly the universe does NOT mess around when it has plans for you — and follow this path and see where it takes me.

Even if I do have to hire a freakin’ crane to get my furniture through the window of a third-story building.


* that photograph above? Was taken as i stepped outside the nearest tube station to my new home. I’d shot it the week before and took it as a sign (duh) that i was on the right path. Seriously you guys, the universe does not mess around. Decide what you want. Then follow the breadcrumbs…

On balance…

Something I’ve been pondering lately is how to balance my publically viewable life (ecourses, blogging & now a book) with my private life (everything else). How do i give as much of myself as I can — for that is what I feel called to do — while also maintaining some boundaries? At a couple of the book events last month I was asked how I felt about sharing so much of myself online and in a book, and my answer each time was this: there is actually a LOT that I don’t share. I don’t know why i feel so comfortable sharing the way i do here. I don’t mind talking about PMS or grief, or whatever I’m chewing on in that moment. I like to share the realisations i have as i really value when other people share the same, so i hope that whatever I’ve realised will be helpful to someone else experiencing a similar situation. I guess being able to write in such an open and expressive way does make it seem like i’m spilling my guts all the time, but in all honesty there’s a lot I keep to myself. I mean… of course, right? If i shared the minutiae that fills my head you’d all have switched off by now :)

I talk about setting your own personal boundaries as a creative blogger in Blogging from the Heart. I think it’s important to know what you are willing — and not willing– to share online. For example, I decided early on that I didn’t want to share details of my relationship with my love, that i wanted this blog to be a chronicle of my new life rather than a memorial to the past. When i’m in my next relationship I will no doubt have new boundaries to define, sharing my experiences in a way that respects the privacy of my new partner. It’s all down to personal choice and your own comfort levels, another reason why I love blogging so much — we set our own rules!

The other side of my online existence is my business. It still blows my mind that i even HAVE a business, because that was never my intention. In fact, I don’t really see what i do as a “business” at all. I see it as another part of me, one that’s so integrated into who I am and how I feel I find it hard to separate the two. It’s amazing that we are living in a time when people like me, someone who had no biz skills whatsoever (i’ve had to learn the hard way) can find a way to pay her rent with the power of her MIND. Because that’s what it feels like sometimes. Sharing knowledge and experience is such a time-honoured profession, and add in the internet and shazam — a whole new way of working has been born. Online biz is all the rage these days and I say hallelujah to that — so many people, women especially, are finding ways to support themselves using their talents and strengths. It’s exciting new ground, and I’ll admit I have days when i worry it will all fall away and I’ll be completely stuffed, but for now I try to trust that if I follow what feels true to me — sharing what I know, working with absolute integrity always, being of service — then I’ll continue building something that has value in the world. This is my hope and my intention.