Dear Diary: Who am I Becoming?

So I’ve decided to use a little corner of this here blog to give you an insight into how my mind works. In these ‘Dear Diary’ posts, I will be sharing and expanding some of my journal entries, to let you see some of the mental ramblings going on in my head. I’m hoping that by sharing some of these there are people out there who read them and realise that they are not alone, and that some other crazy thinks the same way they do.

Dear Diary,

Trying to decide who I am and who I want to be has been a little difficult of late.

I was so sure of myself and who I thought I was upon my return to university this year. I had thought I was so sure of the woman I was, who I wanted to be, what I wanted to get done with my year.

It would seem, however, that something has changed. I have changed.

It’s hard to describe. It’s like a pressure inside my chest; like something just isn’t sitting quite right, like I’m a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Things that normally wouldn’t bother me are starting to really irritate me, my tastes in things, in people even, have changed.

I felt it most on my trip to London. Glasgow, and Scotland, will always be my home, but there was just a strange energy in London. Something clicked in a way. The people and the city just seemed…right. It seemed to fit with me and my vision of how I see myself. Which in a way makes me feel really, really guilty. Like I’m betraying Glasgow and Scotland and home and all they’ve given me and all they mean to me.

Maybe all I need is to get away from Glasgow. I’ve been here for twenty years now. I’m maybe just feeling a little bit of cabin fever and my trip to London just felt like an escape, a place to breathe.

This feeling is making me question and rethink some of my life goals and big life choices that I’ve made recently. I still know the destination I want to reach, but the road I want to follow has become very foggy and unclear, and I’m just not to sure where to go. The yellow brick road has broken up and disappeared from view.

I think, in truth, that all that is happening is that I am beginning my transition into adulthood and making adult decisions, and it is terrifying. These periods of change are always uncomfortable, and you don’t always fit in the new space that the universe is making for you for a while.

But that’s okay.

We’re allowed to need some time to re-mould ourselves into the fabulous butterflies that we will be in our futures. We just have to deal with being very hungry caterpillars for a little while longer.

My Goals For November 2017

I’m now a week into November, which seems a little late to be setting some goals for the month, but ah well. I’m not really counting last week as existing in my Boss Babe plan. I was on holiday. Boy did I need my holiday!

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But alas! Back to normality it is.

It took me a while, but I’m really becoming quite the goal-setting, goal-getting queen. I found a wee list of goals I’d set myself for 2017 recently, and you know what? I’ve achieved them all. Well, all but one, but I’m on course to achieve that before the year’s out (she prays hopefully).

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Win NaNoWriMo

I’ve an essay to write, I’ve music to learn, there’s a diary of concerts, and I’ve barely put pen to paper so far, but what’s a list of goals without a ridiculously un-achievable one, eh? Even I admit 50,000 is quite out of reach, so I’ve set myself a goal of 25,000 – 30,000 instead. I’ll take that for the moment.

Make My First Affiliate Sale

I’ve been at this blogging malarchy for a while now, but only recently have I actually started taking it seriously. The fact that I’ve kept it ticking over for so long is impressive for a non-starter like me, so it’d be nice if I can keep working at it long enough to actually get something back from it this month.

Reach 100 Likes on Facebook

I’m so close! At the time of writing, I’m at 77 likes. Help a gal out?

Start an Email Newsletter

I have utterly no idea what I intend to put in this email newsletter just yet, but my email list is starting to grow, and I feel like I owe it to those who’ve made an effort to subscribe to my blog to make effort in return. Stay tuned guys! And if you haven’t subscribed…

Happy Movember lads!!

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My Favourite Candle Brands

I love candles!

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Seriously, I absolutely love them. Ask anyone. Especially my parents, who object to me burning them in the house.

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The atmosphere of candlelight is just so warm and cosy and unique. I’m also a bit of a pyro, so the addition of fire and a flame just makes them even better. I love watching the flames flicker and dance about before my eyes.

Finding the perfect candle is so difficult. It does depend on what I’m buying them for – Primark £1 tealights do the trick if all I’m after is a little mood-lighting. But if I’m looking for high quality, heavily scented candles to light my bath or scent my room, then I am pretty picky.

DW Home

I came across this brand entirely by accident. If you take me a shop which happens to sell home and interior products, and you allow me to stray from your side, you will most likely find me looking at notebooks and stationery, or with my nose stuck in some candles. That is exactly what I was doing when I came across what is quite possibly my favourite candle ever!

Apple Blossom is not a scent I ever thought I would come across, but it is the most divine scent in the world. I don’t even have to light this candle to love it. All I have to do is remove the lid and its scent fills the room.

They do seem to have discontinued the Apple Blossom scent, ad this breaks my heart as my candle is almost burnt down, but I guess this just gives me a chance to fall in love with some other fabulous scent. Their fall scents seem intriguing – pumpkin toffee? Yes, please!

The Skye Candle Company

They’re a candle company. They’re Scottish. Their candles are made from soy wax, which produces a cleaner burn. I’m in love.

This fabulous little company was founded by James Robertson all on his lonesome, just crafting perfect candles tucked away on the beautiful Isle of Skye.

These candles are brilliant: they just burn forever. I bought myself two for my Christmas last year and thought I’d save one until the other burnt down.

It’s still going!

The Scottish Collection has to be my favourite. These 6 scents are inspired by Scotland and the Scottish landscape. I personally have the Highland Gorse and the Raspberry and White Ginger Tumblers and I absolutely love them. The Heather and Wild Berries and the Scots Pine scents seem to be new since I was last in store. I’ll need to take a gander next time I’m free.

Any other candle companies you need to recommend to me guys? I’m a candle connoisseur, always on the lookout. What are your favourite scents?

Glencoe: You’ll Never Feel So Small

There are no words to describe it. The awe-inspiring, breath taking sensation of standing amidst the colossal, ominous mountains of Glencoe.

One of Scotland’s most famous must-see landmarks, Glencoe is truly a unique place on Planet Earth. Its atmosphere is both magnificent and foreboding. The tiny, weaving A9, as seen in James Bond and M’s trip up north in Skyfall, snakes its way first across Rannoch Moor (a must see on its own, although better seen together with Glencoe) before, suddenly, looming out of the dark, grumbling rain clouds, is perhaps Glencoe’s most famous peak, Buchaille Etive Mor.

Rannoch Moor from the West Highland Way

This terrifying mountain is simply jaw-dropping, a sight so unique to Scotland. The mountains and falls of Glencoe inspire a sense of awe, and oh boy do they demand your respect. Buchaille Etive Mor is an example why – this mountain claims lives, frequently. She and her sisters are no pushovers. They are much like Scottish women – nice to look at, you know they’re a challenge, but if you let your guard down, God help you.

The road wraps around the base of the mountain, entering the Glen and leaving the flat, barren landscape of Rannoch Moor behind.

For a driver, this road is heaven. Great sweeping curves, well-maintained surfaces. But you have to know what you’re doing, as it’s not an easy road to drive. The best things in the world never are. There was a fatal accident when we were up there, and it caused chaos and commotion for hours.

Driving through Glencoe is one thing, but actually pulling up and getting out of the car to look around, is another thing entirely. The feeling I had when I stepped out of the car…I have never felt so small.

NaNoWriMo 2017: Here We Go

Public Service Announcement: I, Lauren, have decided to take on the arduous (and quite frankly insane) challenge of NaNoWriMo 2017!

NaNoWriMo 2017 Preptober

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, takes place in the month of November every year. Its many, many participants all challenge themselves to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days.

Crazy, right?

Now I am under no illusions as to how impossibly difficult this challenge will be, or that I am highly unlikely to make the 50,000-word target. Firstly, I am a full-time university student with a many hours a week job on top. Second, I am a music student, meaning that much of my ‘free time’ is spent in a practice room. Third, I also have a 2,500-word history essay due at the beginning of December.

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But despite my ridiculously hectic schedule I am determined to give NaNoWriMo a whack, because a)I may be slightly insane and b) I have wanted to take part in NaNoWriMo since the day I discovered it, so why not now?

So buckle up, settle down, and wish me luck, because life is about to get coo-coo-ca-choo crazy!

(But in a very good way.)

 

Side Note: It’s nearly Christmas!!

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3 Things: October

October has to be one of my favourite months of the year. It’s officially Autumn, the leaves are changing, the temperatures dropping, and it’s time for cosy coats and hot chocolate.

Gratitude List October

Autumn really is my favourite season. Nature gets more interesting. I, personally, find the muted browns and yellows of the falling leaves to be far more beautiful than the harsh, bright colours of the Spring and Summer.

October also marked the return to University for me, and even though I’m only a few weeks in I’m already needing a holiday. We’ve been thrown in at the deep end this year with the workload and rehearsals et al. and I’ve been so busy that my self-care routine has fallen by the wayside just a little bit.

One thing I recently added to my routine that I’ve managed to keep up is my gratitude list, a wee daily note of something I’m grateful for to remind me that life isn’t as shit as it sometimes seems. I’ve decided to do a monthly round-up of my top 3 each month, to give you guys a glance into what keeps me plodding along.

1. The Changing Autumn Leaves.

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The changing of the leaves really signals the coming of Autumn to me, and that means we’re heading for my favourite time of year. It’s time for Hallowe’en, Christmas, and it being truly dark enough outside for me to sit and enjoy some real candlelight at night.

The yellow, orange and brown of the dying leaves are so beautiful. There’s something so tragically melancholic about the wilting of the leaves and the changing of the seasons.

2. Retail Therapy

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I was feeling a little down a few weeks ago after what I felt was a pretty poor practice session (what can I say, I’m a soprano, we’re overdramatic) and was in desperate need of a pick me up.

So I headed for Primark for some retail therapy.

I found myself a rather lovely light blue top in the sale for £1, and a sexy little leatherette skirt for a tenner. I wore the skirt that Thursday in a class and got a good many compliments on it throughout the day (go me!). I felt so much better after heading out and doing something I just wanted to do in the moment. I blew my entire monthly clothing budget =, mind you, but in my humble opinion, it was worth it.

3. Budgets

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Speaking of budgets, why has it taken me to the third year of university for me to actually start a budget? The lack of monetary stress and panic about whether I can afford things is such a Godsend now that I’ve planned out my money and figured out that I’m actually not as skint as I thought I was! Yay! Now I can really get into those savings goals knowing that I can save for the things I want and still be able to do the things I want.

Well, there you have it, that’s the round-up of my favourite things to happen to me this month! I’m off to get myself a pumpkin spice latte and feel the sass with the Sanderson Sisters.

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My Favourite Autumn Self-Care

Autumn truly seems to be the season of self-care. Everyone’s sharing their self-care routines, so I guessed I’d jump on the bandwagon.

Favourite Autumn Self-care

My self-care routine is so important to me, and I am incredibly protective of it and my time. Last year I experienced what it is to be burnt out, and it is a feeling I will never forget. Never again. Self-care, and taking the time to focus on myself and my needs, has truly helped to change me and my view of the world, and I frequently advocate starting a self-care routine to my friends.

1. Sleep

I am an absolute cow if I had not had enough sleep. I really struggle to function, so I strive every night to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep. This seems to be the ideal for my body, although it may not be for you.

I’m working improve the quality of those seven hours as well. I meditate before bed, to calm my mind and breathing. I journal, which helps to quieten my overthinking brain long enough for me to actually fall asleep. I recently upgraded my pillows for the first time ever, and it was quite possibly the best thing I ever did! They’re firm, and ideal for a constant side sleeper like me. Don’t get me wrong, they still make me feel like I’m sleeping on a cloud, but a firm, supportive cloud that takes the weight off my shoulders.

2. Journalling

I am a person who overthinks things. I cannot seem to help it. My mind has a really bad habit of racing off at four-hundred miles an hour, and I am helpless to stop it. Journalling takes these loud, shouty, muddled thoughts out of my brain and splurges them out on paper, where I can read and re-read them to my heart’s content. This allows me to sort and make sense of them, rather than trying to catch them as they race around fighting for air-time in my head.

Journalling has helped me think through some really difficult decisions and figure out what’s really in my head and heart on more than one occasion, and I absolutely love it. The written word is a special kind of magic given to humankind, and I think writing it by hand just enhances that magic.

Journalling takes a great many forms, from poetry writing to diaries to braindumps, so work through some different options to see what works for you.

3. Alone Time

I am an introvert, and by nature, introverts need to be alone, at least to recharge. Whenever I’m in need of a little creative boost, or I’m starting to feel what I now know to be social burnout, or I just need a wee recharge, I cart myself off somewhere quiet to live inside my head for a while. It’s one of the reasons I love this blog so much. I’m invested in it, and so have no issues with taking myself off, whacking in my headphones, shutting out the world and just writing. It is so therapeutic, and I just love it. Wandering Scotland does in a way act as a second journal, as it’s another place for me to spill out all my thoughts and inner musings out from my brain and into the written word.

Bonus: candles!!

As I said last week, I love smelly things! Absolutely love them. And I have a real love of the more autumnal, rugged scents like cinnamon and pine. They’re just so cosy and comforting and warm. There’s also something just so delicately romantic about candlelight; how the flame flickers, casting gentle, subtle shadows across the room. I love sitting and relaxing in a room lit by candles. It feels almost magical.These are my

These are my favourite self-care tips and tricks, particularly for Autumn and Winter. But I’m curious – what are yours? How do you guys journal? Is it just a nightly brain dump, or do you take time to structure and perfect the prose?

Bell Bay Beach, Isle of Cumbrae

5 Things That Make Me Feel Feminine

Things that make me feel feminine

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission from any purchase you make!*

I used to be the biggest tomboy out. I know that may sound hard to believe now given my high-maintenance, divaesque, never-seen-without-makeup personality now, but when I was around about the age of just starting high school I was probably closer to a boy than a girl in appearance and personality. I was a fairly early bloomer, and given my current confidence with my (reasonably ample) bosom you may find this a fair stretch of the imagination, but I did everything possible to hide my growing chest. I hated wearing skirts and dresses, and actively avoided wearing them, and protested loudly and frequently when forced to wear them by my mum or that one time I had to wear one on a school trip to The Scotland Street School in Primary 7.

All this behaviour may have been mildly influenced by the fact that I tended to be a lot friendlier with guys than girls in school, and so spent more time around them, but it’s true, I used to be a boy.

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Nowadays, however, I truly, freely and openly enjoy and embrace my womanhood, and encourage all women to do the same. No matter where on the spectrum of girly girl to tomboy to beyond you fall, your womanhood and femininity holds power. Embrace it. Use it. Use that power which they cannot take from you and be all that you want to be. Being a woman is great. Yes, there are some downsides – periods, the gender pay gap etc, but there are so many fabulous things about being a woman, and I drawn strength from my femininty. My womanhood gives me the power to be who I want to be, whether that means today when I want to wear a floaty, floral skirt, or tomorrow when the leather biker jacket comes out to play. These are all the facets of a woman, and they are all the facets of me.

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Sometimes, when I’m needing a little pick-me-up and strength from that Venus within me, I call upon some little tricks I know to make myself feel just that sparkle more feminine and fabulous.

1. Lingerie

In makeup, if your foundation and base is perfect, you feel on point, and that you can’t really go wrong. Well, in my opinion, the same can be said for you rclothing. Lingerie has that fabulous little trick of making you feel special, that you can take on the world and all its pile of shit that it throws at you. I believe that every woman should truly invest and explore the world of lingerie, be it for her someone special, or even better if it’s entirely for herself. Do a little research, find out what fits your body, and then head into town and try on a load of different stuff. Find what works for you and brings out your inner diva. Believe me, she’s in there.

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I do have a real fascination with lingerie. I love how confident and sassy it makes me feel. The variety of styles and fabrics just fills me with wonder, and more often than not, lingerie specific shops make the shopping experience feel so much more wonderful than regular high street shops. I mean, Boux Avenue lets you change the lighting in your changing room to what you believe to be more flattering for yourself. Plus, the changing room’s decor is just lush.

2. Satin and Silk

Speaking of fabrics frequently found in lingerie, I find the textures of silk and satin to be the most elegant, sensual thing on the planet! they just feel so luxurious to feel and touch, and they make me feel like an utter goddess whenever I’m wearing or even just touching them.

3. Freshly Shaved Legs

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The only thing that makes silk and satin feel even more luxurious and sensual is when you wear it immediately after you’ve just shaved your legs. Smooth legs and the smooth feeling of silk – divine! Your hair preference is your hair preference, but I just always feel 100% more feminine just after I’ve shaved or waxed. I just kind of feel a little disgusting and icky when I haven’t shaved in a while. I know we have hair on our bodies for a reason, but I, persoanlly, could do without it.

4. Make Up

If you have seen me without makeup in the past 2-3 years, then you have seen a truly rare sight indeed. Makeup is my daily mask. I just don’t feel put together and on point without it. I love makeup because it helps me hide my acne scars, a thing I am very self consious about. And besides, who doesn’t feel more like a girl when painting their face with lots of pretty colours and products.

5. Perfume

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I hate smelly people! Really hate them. Why haven’t you showered, or bought deodorant, or just not come here today? I joke. I’m not that offended, just really annoyed. I have a really sensitive sense of smell, so any foul scents in the air really affect me. I’m always really conscious of being smelly, and take great care to keep my personal hygiene levels as high as possible. If I smell, it makes me feel really uncomfortable.

I love perfume and nice smelly things. I waste hours wandering around candle shops and places like The Body Shop just sniffing things. There are certain scents that make me feel particularly feminine, such as lavender and violet. Sandalwood, a scent usually considered to be a little more masculine, is a smell that I consider to be quite sensual and seductive. I always feel really confidant and sexy wearing perfumes scented with Sandalwood. My signature scent at the minute is Hugo Boss Nuit Pour Femme, which feature base notes of crystalline moss and creamy sandalwood, which makes me feel so confident and sexy, and I just love it. I also love Ma Vie, the daytime version of the scent when I’m looking for a more delicate scent.

Like I said, there are some days I wake up, and I feel like I need to channel a little of my masculine side. And that’s OK. But on the days I’m needing to feel all girly and feminine and delicate, these are some of the things I turn to.

I’m curious; what are some of the things that make you feel feminine? Or conversely, what do you turn to on the days you feel like channelling your inner guy and need some of your more masculine traits on offer?

 

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Do I Have High Standards in Relationships?

relationships high standards

I’m going to let you in on a well-known secret;

I have never been in a relationship. Never. Not one. If you took a look at my dating history it probably looks a little bit like this…

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Yah. To be honest there’s more action in that GIF than there is in my love life.

But I digress.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time in my teenage years believing there was something very wrong with me because everyone had been in a relationship of some form or another and then there was me.

 

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As an INFP, love, and a strong relationship that builds me up and supports me, is something truly very important to me, and so for years my inability to make that special connection with someone was really, really hard for me, and meant that for years I had some serious issues with my self esteem. Yes, I know its a little cliche to have based my self-worth on men but hey, I was a hormonal, angsty teenager. I’m allowed to be a sad individual!

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Now that I’m a little older and wiser (and grouchier) I understand that a man’s love, and men in general, do not have anything to do with your self worth. I am a strong, independent woman who just really wants someone to cuddle.

I call myself a realistic dreamer (which really isn’t a thing, but I’ve decided it is so…) and although I want the fairy tale, with all the romance and the Prince Charming and the true love, I know that doesn’t really exist. Real relationships take work, but the work is what makes it fun, and I am looking forward to the chance to put in that work with another person. Mind you, if he ain’t putting in the work then he be out on his ass.

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Queen B!!

When I talk to my friends and family about relationships and my lack of, I usually get one of two responses;

“It’ll just happen one day. One day you’ll meet someone and it’ll all make sense”

or

“Maybe your standards are too high.”

Damn right my standards are high! I am fabulous, a queen who can handle any and all shit that life throws at me. Why in the hell should I ‘lower’ my standards to pick up some weak ass I’m gonna have to drag around after me. My high standards have nothing to do with your inability to keep up with me and my dreams and ambitions. Yes, I would quite like to make a genuine connection with someone, but I am not that desperate for any kind of connection that I’ll settle for a crappy, half-arsed relationship just to find it.

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With regards to the former piece of sage advice – I do agree. I do wish that it would perhaps happen a little sooner, but unlike my younger, more desperate self, I am now content to be a badass career woman with ‘ridiculously high standards’ and carry on being a Queen and building up my kingdom until someone comes along with King potential. Well, maybe consort potential. Ain’t nobody getting my throne.

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Tell me ladies, have any of you been told you have high standards? Anyone any other input, or sassy retorts to those mere mortals in awe of our high standards of greatness?

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