Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Blogging Events : Confidence & Anxiety

I've had my blog for a little over 4 years now, and have actually thought of myself as 'a blogger' for over half of that yet it still it comes as a surprise to me when anybody besides myself takes any interest in my little slice of Internet magic. Whether that's people reading my posts or following me on social media. brands wanting to work with me or companies inviting me to their events, it's truly amazing. I'm still surprised because those things signify that my blog is actually a real thing and that it means something, even something tiny, to people other than me. I'm truly grateful for every opportunity that my blog has allowed me so it always comes as a shock to me when I decide not to out of going to events like I did recently.

I remember the first blogging event that I ever went to. It was a Lush event for the launch of Mira Manga's book 'Cosmetics To Go' and I was absolutely petrified. I didn't know what to expect, what to bring, what to wear. I was awkward, scared to talk to anyone new through fear of feeling inferior and hung around the few bloggers that I did vaguely know like flies around...yeah. It was a great night and like most things that make me feel anxious, I look back on it with good memories and I don't regret going at all, it was a great night and probably kick started me being 'a blogger' rather than someone who just so happens to write a blog. 

Since then, I have been to a ton of events for loads of amazing brands and companies and while I always have a good time, often the daunting prospect of entering a room of people alone puts me off. If I was immune to that feeling, I'd have definitely been to a lot more blogger events. I work with the general public, luxury fashion retail to be exact so while I'm great at making small talk with total strangers, I could go for hours, when it comes to people I sort of know (ie. follow on Twitter but have never actually met in real life) I freeze.

You see, while I don't suffer with 'anxiety' as such, as in the medical condition, 'anxiety' as a feeling rather than a diagnosis is certainly prominent in almost every aspect of my day to day life, particularly my life as a blogger. I'm a worrier, tiny things play on my mind for days or sometimes weeks and really eat away at me and I'm great at talking myself out of things if I feel uncomfortable or nervous about them. Better safe that sorry, right? Or usually in my case, better safe at home than sorry out in the big bad world. 

Recently, I was invited to an amazing blogger event which I was flattering about and had every intention of attending right up until the day before it. Then, after finishing work, I was hit with a bout of anxiousness and dread. I couldn't quite put my finger on why (which isn't uncommon for me when it comes to anxiety) but I just feel nervous and drained. 

Normally I'd have loved to go, but I was searching for any excuse in the book why I was unworthy. I was supposed to be working 11am-7pm on the day of the event and it started at 7pm. 'Nope, I simply couldn't go if I were going to be late,' I thought. Did I mention the location of the event is literally less than 5 minutes walk from my work? Then I had to go into work a hour early. So naturally that hour had made me so completely exhausted that the thought of doing anything after work was too much to bare. And of course my hair wasn't looking it's best. And didn't have my camera with me. The tiny little things all began to mount up and like clock work I'd talked myself out of it. I walked past the location that the event was being held in on the way home and gazed in the window from afar like a kid in a candy store. Any normal person would think 'Um...well, just go in then?' but I couldn't bring myself to. I still now don't know why and that's a really frustrating feeling. 

I love my blog and as I said, am still incredibly grateful for all the opportunities which I get as a result of it, so it really tears me up when I feel like I just can't bring myself to take up these opportunities and worst of all, I don't even know why. As a beauty blogger, do I feel I should I be more attractive? Or as a writer, do I feel I should I be able to walk into any social gathering and come across as intelligent and well versed as I effortlessly engage in idle chit-chat with glamorous strangers? Is it maybe that because my friends and family don't know about my blog, I perhaps feel conscious about actually vocalising it, even amongst other bloggers? It could be a combination of those factors, or it could be none of them, I really don't know. 

For the duration of my time as a blogger, anxiety has dictated what I post. In the past year or so, I've been more open on Twitter about certain aspects of my life, health etc. but still worry constantly about judgement from people in my life or from blogging friends. 

This wasn't intended to provoke sympathy (I'm not sure it would anyway, as it's basically just been me complaining about the amazing opportunities which I get and coming across as super ungrateful) but I find it funny (albeit ironic) how something like blogging that gives me so much in some ways is so affected by anxiety in others...

Monday, 12 October 2015

A day in Edinburgh - Roy Lichtenstein & David Bailey exhibitions

Hi all! 
One of my favourite ways to spend a chilled out day off, is to visit exhibitions and galleries. I've always been a very visual person a with a huge passion for art and photography so last Sunday, my mum and I decided to take a day trip to Edinburgh to see the Roy Lichtenstein and David Bailey exhibitions. 

For anyone who doesn't know, Roy Lichtenstein is hugely influential figure in the pop art movement, while David Bailey is a amazing photographer, mostly celebrity shoots from the 70's and 80's but also fashion images and portraits. I'm a big fan of both their works so we exciting to see both in one day.

The Roy Lichtenstein exhibition was in the beautiful Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, just outside of Edinburgh's city centre. Beautiful buildings and grounds house a small but inclusive collection of Lichtenstein's work, including one of this most famous pieces, 'In The Car', which the gallery purchased in 1980. 

The exhibition is completely fee of charge and is on until 10th January 2016. More info on it here.

After visit it the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, we headed to Wannaburger for spot of lunch. I've heard great things about their food from friends who live in Edinburgh, comparing it to Five Guys. In reality, I'd say it's better! I had the cheese and bacon burger with Cajun fries while my mum has a spicy grilled chicken burger. Oh, and they serve Minute Maid lemonade too, my absolute favourite! Such a delicious lunch before heading out for a little shopping and off to see David Bailey.

David Bailey's exhibition, Bailey's Stardust, is on in the Scottish National Gallery, a spectacular building right in the middle of Edinburgh's busiest streets, Princes Street. 

Having worked a photographer since he was a teenager and now in his late seventies, David Bailey sure has shot a huge range of well known people from music (The Beatles, Noel Gallagher, Damon Albarn and The Rolling Stones) to film (Michael Caine, Susan Sarandon, Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep) to fashion (Kate Moss, Twiggy, Alexander McQueen and Zandra Rhodes) and everyone else in between, The Kray twins, Desmond Tutu, Margaret Thatcher and The Queen and it's all here. Plus, family portraits, photos from his travels to Asia and Africa and photos from the streets, pubs and clubs of London in the 60's. Overall, an amazing exhibition, with such a variety to see. 

Bailey's Stardust is on in the Scottish National Gallery on Princes Street in Edinburgh til 18th October 2015 and costs £11 (£9 for students) but it's worth every penny. More info on it here

Visiting exhibitions, museums and galleries is such a lovely way to spend a day off, soaking up a little culture and in my experience, you never leave disappointed. If you're near Edinburgh and fancy something fun and cheap to do, I highly recommend both of these shows - and Wannaburger!