Sunday, 25 January 2015

Let's Catch Up

Well, look at me back blogging again so soon! 

For this post I thought I share what I got up to during my absence during the last quarter of 2014. so grab yourself a cuppa (my choice is always be a good cup of English Breakfast tea with a dash of milk and two sugars, thanks!) and settle in for a good ol' catch up between friends...

I think that it's best if I start off from where I left off - at the start of October last year I was officially signed off as competent at my first biomedical scientist task - running anti-coagulant management clinics. Since then I've been going on clinics on average three times a week - basically I travel around the area and test patients blood to monitor and dose their anti-coagulant therapy. It's a pretty stressful task but it's so good to get out into the community and actually meet patients - it really brings my job back to it's essence - working for the benefit of the patients. Running clinics has definitely been an eye-opener - going from having essentially no experience of patient contact to seeing approximately 100 patients in just one day of clinic has made me develop my interpersonal skills which has made me far more confident in my abilities than I was when I left university.

As for November - well that flew past in the blink of an eye with really nothing of note happening - aside from the bf's (ex-bf's? yep that's happened again) birthday. I could go on about how lovely it was to spend another birthday with him but there's a block on all of my memories at the moment because of, frankly, how painful they are. So moving swiftly (this feels like a pun seeing as I'm listening to 1989 at the moment!) onwards...

December - this month was jam-packed with awesome-ness! I made the decision early on in November to book a whole 2 weeks off work for Christmas; this may seem indulgent considering I'd only been working full-time for 5-ish months but I figured that I'd be on the shift rota for Christmas 2015 and all foreseeable years after that so 2014 would be my last opportunity to spend all of Christmas at home - so I decided to go for it! I made the most of my time off work by jetting off for some winter sun in Tenerife the week before Christmas. This break was exactly what I needed and I spent the week re-charging, reading far too many Christmas novels and indulging in one too many blue raspberry slushies :P When I cam back from my holiday it was straight into Christmas mode - and the whole of Christmas week was just lovely. I was completely spoilt, enjoyed lots of festive food and spent as much time as I could with my family - perfection!

So I think that makes us all caught up - oh aside from the fact that I managed to break my thumb - just a little life lesson for y'all, when you're covering your car up because you're too lazy to get up in the winter mornings to scrape the ice off your car, please make sure that you keep your thumbs out of the way because, trust me, shutting your thumb in a car door hurts like hell. Almost as much as heartbreak... 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Is there anybody out there?

I think that it's high time that I broke the silence that has been going on here for the last three months.

I can't believe that the last time I posted on here was last September - that's awful! 

I mean I've been blogging pretty consistently for the past three years that I created 'The Life & Times of Belle' and 2014 was the first year that I felt comfortable enough and happy with blog to start actively promoting it.  For the first half of 2014 I was absolutely loving blogging - scheduling multiple posts a week a month in advance, promoting all over social media, doing stuff 'for the blog'. 

It's only towards the latter half of the year that my content started drifting off. I let myself get a bit caught up in the whole keeping up with the Jones' side of blogging - I was comparing my post ideas, my design, my follower count, my 'blogging friends' with everyone else which completely took the fun out of blogging for me. I felt a pressure to try to push myself to make 'The Life & Times of Belle' the best that it could be which left me feeling really disheartened with the lack of results I was seeing for all of the effort I was putting in (like every other small-scale blogger has felt at some point I'm sure!). 

And then came summer 2014 and the biggest change in my life so far - I graduated from university and landed my first full-time job that happened to be my absolute dream job. I ended up starting my grown-up job before I had even graduated and boy, it was a bit of a culture shock! Suddenly my lack of free time during the stressful dissertation-filled third year of uni seemed like a holiday compared to the amount of free time I had once I started work. I'd came home from work during those first six months absolutely drained from the fast-track training I was on to build up my experience of working in a lab as a biomedical scientist. On weekday nights I was good for nothing because I was so tired so my weekends were jam-packed with catching up with my family, boyfriend and friends and to be honest I just let my blogging fall way down my list of priorities because I felt it was an unnecessary pressure that I was putting on myself along with everything else that I had going on.

But what I forgot during this time is the whole reason that I started writing on 'The Life & Times of Belle' in the first place - as a hobby. Something that I could use to relax and escape from the stresses of my IRL life. I never started blogging to try and end up with it providing me with an income or to gain X amount of followers. I started blogging to fill the creative void in my science-filled life. And I just lost sight of that for a little while last year.

So here we are: three months of blog silence and six months of working as a full time biomedical scientist later I think that I've adjusted to my new schedule and finally realised how to take the pressure off myself and get back incorporating blogging into my life as an enjoyable hobby and not a pressurised, number-crunching chore. 

Right, now what can you expect from 'The Life & Times of Belle' in the coming months? Well, for a start we've had a little make-over and now I'm finally really happy with the design - it's clean and fresh and ready to take on 2015. In terms of posting, I'm taking a more relaxed approach to blogging - I'm not setting myself a schedule to post certain things on certain days like I tried to before - I just want to take the time to produce one post a week that I'm really happy with and proud of. As for content - 'The Life & Times of Belle' is going to continue to be an eclectic mix of lifestyle, beauty, fashion, books and whatever else takes my fancy!

Phew, it has taken me a few weeks to finally get this post written - I wasn't really sure how to get back into blogging again after taking such a long impromptu break and quite frankly I was nervous about posting again - all I could think of was "who's going to care if your posting again? I doubt anyone noticed that you were gone" - but in my new blogging-pressure free state of mind, who cares if no ones is reading - I'm back to blogging like I was in the beginning, for ME. And I'm enjoying it already! 

So here's to 'The Life & Times of Belle' in 2015!
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