My favourite book

There is something about reading my favourite book over and over and over again that grounds me. I first read this in middle school as part of a project to get kids to read more. I fell in love with the girl and her story of love and loss. There’s one quote that reads “That’s what it’s all about–knowing what you have to lose, but risking the loss anyway” that hits the heart every time. The choices we make in life send ripples through our lives, sometimes undetected. These ripples turn into the waves and we chose to either 1) paddle out through the breakwater and the ride the waves risking it all or 2) stay on the inside which is the area of whitewater where the waves have broken. It’s comfortable there but you may not either experience life. Through paddling out and taking a few hits, leaving the comfort zone, you see your dreams. Dreams are only ever limited by your mind and the constraints you build. We are all living stories waiting to be read, so don’t limit your story because of the restraints you feel you should impose or others impose on you through guilt amongst other things. Risk it all when you feel that your wants and desires have changed and what once was a dream has since built the constraints of your life that you adhere to. Stop and think of those walls are too high or life too comfortable. Life is inevitable ever-changing so it is only natural for our dreams and desires to change with life. And when you decide change is possible, you weigh up your options, stay in the break water or paddle out knowing it could all go wrong. Never apologise for wearing a wholehearted smile or experiencing a good feeling. Those moments are make life worth living, the moments that made you risk it all because that feeling is worth chasing. Worth risking it all knowing it could be your biggest mistake or your greatest decision. #saygoodnightgracie

You are enough… 

Life should be about celebrating our strengths and the beauty in each other. But too often is it clouded by negativity and identifying flaws. It’s a shame. Kindness goes a long way and you do not realise the power of a compliment at any given time. I have never heard of anyone hating a compliment. Most people hate hearing the compliment or hate that the compliment challenges their own perception of themselves but it’s not the compliment itself that does that. That’s the lack of self-confidence or the belief that it could actually be true. You could actually have nice hair or a beautiful smile. It’s an outrage that we live to believe the worst in ourselves foremost and that we must challenge the affection of others. I am as guilty as the next in thinking this and focusing solely on the negative. The “what can I fix about myself” or the “I am unlovable if I don’t have a, b, or c”. And I sometime surround myself with people that reinstall this. Or worse, I live vicariously through others by paying them compliments instead of myself.

If you give away everything, you leave your life in the hands of others. You live by their every word. But if you refocus your attention on yourself, then you become more independent and increase your own self-esteem. Your value doesn’t decrease or increase based on someone else’s perception of your worth. Stop comparing yourself to anyone (and everyone) else. That like comparing animals to jam flavours. We are all different, with different journeys and goals, and I cannot compare my success to others because they don’t have those same ambitions. They don’t battle the same demons in my head and they don’t know what makes my heart sing.

Nothing will ever hold you back more than your own insecurities. Joel Osteen – you cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life. You want to change your life, live more positively, reach your dreams then get rid of those that say “you can’t do that!”, “you always say that and watch in two weeks…” Or “keep dreaming sweetie.” For their people are weighing you down. Next time they say something critical but not constructive, just turn around and say ‘give me a compliment, some time, a smile, a constructive point, an idea, a second thought. Just never give me your negativity or judgement as its not welcome here.” And walk away. Then look at that relationship and ask yourself – what do you get from this? What do I give to this? Is this equal? – if it isn’t, most definitely and unequivocally walk away. For those people will take and take until you are empty. For those people are the ones that make excuses when you are making progress. For those are the ones that stand behind you, not next to you. So let that be their last page in your book and turn the page over.

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Surround yourself with positive people and life is a beautiful thing. Be proud and strong enough to walk away for those that no longer serve a purpose in life, that not longer build you up, that do not want you to better yourself. You deserve more than their criticism. For you are beautiful, amazing and you are enough. You are so enough it’s unbelievable how enough you are. Welcome to a new day.

So create a day worth living and tell me all about it,

Ivy xx

How to gain perspective

Anything you want is life is achievable. Now I am not crazy but I promise you it is. It’s just about gaining some perspective and the secret to gaining perspective is walking amongst the giants and realises just how small you are. Take a walk in the forest against the trees or along a beach where the ocean spreads as far as the eye can see. You will see that all great things have to start somewhere. There is no right time to start, there is only excuses for why it isn’t that moment. You want a new job, make time to apply for some and spend time on your application. You want to lose weight, it’s just consciously putting one foot in front of the other for a while before it becomes a habit. Get out there in the world and live amongst reality not the vital form. My secret is simple. My Therapist: six inches tall, four legs, fluff ball and in need of a haircut and daily walks. Even when I feel like hell on earth, he has needs and out the day we go. Just get out of your head (and phone) for a while. Lose yourself in the beauty around you where there is no wifi or ringtones. The connection there is second to none and there is something to be found against the woods and rip tides: you. Start taking the scenic route in life and don’t let life tame you. Henry Thoreau “took a walk in the woods and came out taller than trees”. Anne frank wrote “go outside…amidst the simple beauty of nature…and know that as long as places like this exist, there will be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.” So just get go and go. Don’t know where, remember it’s just one foot in front of the other. The rest will map itself. Left or right? Go with the pull of your heart. Let your adventure begin…find your own ikigai. #findingikigai

 

Treat yourself better 

Anyone’s best accessory is always, without a doubt, a smile but a nice watch is a close second. It is important to treat yourself when you reach a personal milestone. For me, this was completing my PhD proposal. I am typical one not to finish an application because I have talked myself out of it by page 2 of the form. So it is safe to say that selling myself does not come naturally. Doubt kills more dreams then failure ever has. But this I finished and I am so proud of myself. Whether I get the post or not is irrelevant. Yes I wouldld love it but I know that I overcome my own mountain to do it and that is everything it me. I realised my strength again because I was able to overcome my walls. I am my own fan club and no one like discourage my ambitions again. And now everytime I look at my wrist, I can remember that this girl can and she did. So kudos to all of you out there who conquered your mountain. I am proud of you. Just don’t forget to treat yourself. Treat yourself better than anyone else would and you will never need anyone again.

Have a great day all,

Ivy xx

A thought 

This is my favourite saying. I truly believe life is here to test us! To show our strength. To conquer every battle (even to get out of bed in the morning). To get knocked back in order to get up and push ahead. I am a strong individual and not in a big headed kind of way. I am able to have people let me down, hear the lies people tell me, hear the harsh words that are said about me behind closed doors and still carry on. I am strong enough to know that if I constantly try to compete with others and their view of me then I will become bitter. But if I constantly compete with myself, then I become better. There is nothing no one can say to me that will ruin me. If someone cannot physically hurt you with touching you, then someone cannot emotional hurt me without me letting it in. I am my own biggest let down and my own biggest critic. I push myself harder than anyone will ever push me. I hold myself to a higher standard and I beat myself up most, for my mistakes, more than anyone else. So watch this arrow, watch me fly past those who think they can get the better of me. It’s not about winning with me or getting it right the first time. Everyone knows you miss the target most of the time. But it’s about making this life great, extraordinary even. It’s not about hitting your targets perfectly every time. Instead it’s about pulling it back and then pushing yourself forward everyday. Find what it is you want the most, write it down, make a list of things, make a plan and work on it everyday. Launch yourself into greatest and watch your success story unravel right before your eyes. Watch as you rush past those who were trying holding you back and saying those harsh words about you, for you are the only one that can allow them in. 

This life is yours, make it extraordinary. 

A perfect gift with an unexpected twist

Happy Monday all,

I don’t know about you but I love giving presents to people. I especially like it when the person you are buying for is one of the most caring people you would ever be lucky to meet. I am lucky enough to have her in my life and her friendship. We have been through the wars with love and anything else life has decided to throw at us. I have known her for 15 years ever since I moved to England and she is the chair(wo)man of my board of life trustees. She is my most loyal, kind friend with a wicked sense of humour, good girl mentality to the core and the ability to break out the worm in any dance floor on command. Nickname: Fancy Pants. How is she single, I have no idea. Most recently, Hannah was on the Vieber trip with me when I had my accident and this girl (as well as my other friends on this trip)  literally pieced me back together, but Hannah especially. She lay there whilst I cried my eyes out and relived my nightmare over and over again. She held my hand and never let me think it was not going to be okay or I wasn’t going to make it. She sat with me as I faced the mountain again and never let me feel alone even at 4am when the rest of the world slept soundly.

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Hannah and I
So, I thought that I wanted to get her something special, maybe from notonthehighstreet.com as there is always cute things on there. But I went on Etsy instead and I am so glad I did. As I typed in ‘personalised gifts for your best friend’, I was hoping for some inspiration, however I never expected to find such a perfect gift. And even a bit more. You see, as well as discussing our loves and our losses and everything in-between, Hannah and I share a passion for reading. We have different tastes in books; I read romantic fiction and she reads books she can learn from. Nonetheless,she recently let me borrow a great book called “The Shock of the Fall” which had an incredible perception on mental health. I highly recommend the book by the way. Anywho… I was scrolling through Etsy and something caught my eye. I scrolled back to it and clicked on “Personalised Bookmark.” OF COURSE. What a ideal gift from one bookworm to another and I can make sure that I put something on there to remind her that she is one of my most favourite (sorry about the terrible english but I cannot describe her in simple english) people in this world. So I reset my search and bang – about 50 different options came up. My first thought: OH MAN, I NEED COFFEE.

As I scrolled through, there were large ones, small ones and ones with every font you could imagine. However, there was one that really stood out to me because it had a tassel attached. I know it sounds silly but the tassel just seemed to make it work and look complete, you know?  It was just lovely with this adorable font that would make any phrase look ritzy. When I clicked on this link, I would have no idea of company I would experience. Millie Rose Designs (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MillieRoseDesignsUK) did not just give me a personalised bookmark for my friend. The lovely owner, Tracy, has a passion for creating beautiful things and the talent to match. She gave a service second to none and the package, well, it was a gift in itself. My address was beautifully written in calligraphy, the bookmark was wrapped in a pastel-coloured tissue paper with a sticker, a little bag of sweets was included inside the package and best of all, a personalised note to say thank you for my order.

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Now I am not one to be blown away easily but this is something else. She clearly cares for her products and her customers. I emailed her to say thank you for such a perfect gift and to tell her my story behind my quote that I choose. Through conversation and a desire to have one myself, she offered to make another one for me and even hand delivered the second bookmark. I will admit that I don’t think that service will equate to customers in Scotland as I am currently local to her and it was on route to her journey but still what a service.

These words (…and with or without anyone’s acknowledgement or affection, you are enough) are my own and it was never written to be a quote in itself but then again I guess all the best quotes are. This is just a string of 11 words that were a part of a text that I sent Hannah. It relates to love, or more so, the love for one’s self above all else. It felt right to share with the story behind my quote with Tracy. We spoke about it across a few messages and I had an urge to meet her, to ask her about her passions and still have the urge. She is someone that has a gracious heart and is deserving of success. She thanked me for bringing her this quote to her and I thanked her for talent. Unfortunately, I was out when she delivered the bookmark and I was sad to have missed her but I hope to meet her one day. She is someone that I would like to become a friend because you don’t find passionate people that invest in the lives of others so easily and give with such abundance.

So if you looking for someone different to give to someone, I highly recommend Millie Rose Designs. Tracy can create you your very own bookmark as well as other handmade gifts that will bring a smile to your face. All of which can be personalised and all very affordable. Her package will be unmistakable and you will be giving your business to a deserving individual who cares more for her customers than the money you bring her. So thank you Tracy for sharing your talent with me and I hope do get the chance to meet one day.

Until next time,

Ivy xxx

Reflecting

I have many fears and many doubts. Some days I feel I do nothing right, that I make no progress in life, that I am failing. Then I end the day and it all feels heavy. So I go to sleep and I wake up and I do it again. I may not know what I am doing all the time, I make my mistakes and I definitely doubt my abilities more than anyone else right now. However I go to sleep, wake up and a start again despite my feelings of failure. I may be judged on my set off skills, my inability to be consistent or my organisation but I will never be judged on my abilities to carry on and to push through. I will bend and break but I will Learn and I will fall seven times but get up on the eighth. What I allow is for me not to fail so that will continue. Do not judge me on my failures but instead on my ability to carry on and not give up. People in this world too often underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest accomplishment or the smallest act or caring, myself included. All of these have the power to turn someone’s day around so be the difference.