Top 3 Dr Martens boots I couldn’t live without

Top 3 Dr Martens boots I couldn’t live without

Oh, Dr Martens, how I love thee. In fact, I love them so much, I wish I had more feet so I could wear more of them at once. Say what you like about spiders, but if those little tinkers could wear shoes, they’d have it pretty good.

In total, I own ten pairs of Dr Martens. Eight of those are boots, and two are shoes. I got it into my head that it would be a good idea to share three of my favourite pairs of boots with you. Although I have a tendency to write about deeper issues, I fancied doing something else that I could have a little fun with. However, doing this task felt like a parent being asked to pick their favourite child. Despite my struggle, I’ve managed to pick my top three.

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1. Dr Martens 1460 Portland Rose White Boots

Dr Martens 1460 Portland Rose White Boots

These were the first pair of Dr Martens that I ever owned. I had seen them when I was shopping but couldn’t afford them. I asked for them for my birthday and my wonderful big sister came through for me (as she often does!) One evening, a lot of snow had fallen so my sister and I decided to go for an adventure. That’s when I discovered that Dr Martens are fantastic for walking on snow and ice. I’ve been relying on them every winter since.

The best thing about that night was that my sister and I ended up making snow angels on a roundabout. Between that memory, and these boots being the start of my collection, they’ve got a very special place in my heart.

2. Dr Martens 1460 Lumpy Space Princess Boots

Dr Martens 1460 Lumpy Space Princess Boots

If you’re reading this and you happen to be an Adventure Time fan, I imagine I don’t really need to explain any further. If you’re not an Adventure Time or are not familiar with it, JUST LOOK AT THEM! They’re still pretty cute, right? When Dr Martens first started releasing the Adventure Time boots, they didn’t include LSP. I was heartbroken and, if I’m honest, a little bit outraged that they had the cheek to miss out my favourite character.

Nevertheless, I didn’t give up hope. I made a promise to myself to keep money aside so that I could get them straight away. I kept my fingers and toes crossed. Dr Martens didn’t disappoint (which is just as well, as I don’t know if our relationship would have recovered). I screamed the house down when they were released and bought them without hesitation.

These are the most comfortable ones that I own. The material is so soft and squishy! Sometimes, Dr Martens boots can be quite stiff and often it takes a little bit of breaking in before they’re comfortable. That wasn’t an issue with these, which only made me love them more. They’re also the ones I get the most compliments on. No matter where I go, there’s usually at least one person who stops me to say that they love my boots.

3. Dr Martens 1460 Pascal Glitter Boots

Dr Martens 1460 Pascal Glitter Boots

For the most part, I’m not really a girly girl. Glitter doesn’t appeal to me. That is, of course, unless you put them all over some Dr Martens boots. It helped that, when I bought them, I had a phone case that was very similar. Some things are just meant to be. As you can imagine, I don’t need much persuasion to purchase another pair of Dr Martens, so I’ll justify my choices with any excuse. I’m not sure how convinced my boyfriend was by my logic, but he humoured me anyway.

I absolutely adore wearing these when it’s sunny. The picture doesn’t do justice to how sparkly they are! The first time I wore them, the sun was beaming down so, every couple of minutes, I’d nudge my boyfriend and say “look at them! Look how much they sparkle!” I was mesmerised. Typing that now, I wonder what passers-by must have thought. At the time, I was too engrossed in my glistening boots to notice anything else.

If you’re interested, they do also come in others colours like black* and pastel rainbow*.

Bonus: Dr Martens 1460 Pascal Flower Boots

Dr Martens 1460 Pascal Flower Boots

Okay, I didn’t manage to stick to three, but there’s a good reason for these ones being snuck in! These are the most recent addition to the collection. While they are AMAZING, it’s more the story that goes with them that means they had to be included somewhere. I had spotted these on Schuh’s website and immediately fallen in love. They were a little pricey so I reasoned with myself that I didn’t need another pair right now. As any shoe addict will know, it’s hard when you fall in love with a pair of shoes and can’t have them. So, I moped a little.

A week later, my boyfriend popped home on his lunch break. This wasn’t unusual, so I didn’t think anything of it. Once he’d gone back to work, he sent me a text to say there was a present in the bedroom for me. I know you’ve guessed the ending already, but it was these beauties! Happy days! It was one of those little moments in life where I felt so giddy, I thought I was going to explode.

I always go a little bit weak at the knees for any floral Dr Martens, but I was completely taken with the 3D flowers on these ones. I think it makes them a little bit more unusual so I’m delighted I’ve got a pair to call my own! If you’ve got to have them, too, they’re available at Schuh*.

3 pairs of Dr Martens I couldn't live without

Top 3 Dr Martens

3 things I learnt about blogging in my first week

3 things I learnt about blogging in my first week

As of today, I have been blogging for a whole week (yay for me!). I know that’s not a long period of time, but I already feel like I’ve learnt a few important lessons. I’m interested to see what I’ll learn in the months to come. For now, these are my top 3 from the past seven days.

1. Blogging is harder than it looks.

It’s a testament to the blogging community that they make it look so easy. Having attempted blogging before, I had some understanding that it’s not as easy as it appears, but that was only the writing side of things. I would struggle for inspiration, feel like nobody cared or just feel embarrassed by my writing, so I wouldn’t stick it out. This time, I’ve gone all in and have been trying to follow all the tips and tricks I’ve seen from others. Boy, there’s a lot to do!

I am enjoying the challenge, but it definitely feels like you’re doing ten different jobs in one. When you actually stop to think about it, that’s because you are. Other bloggers have mentioned how you are responsible for your writing, your marketing, your photography – every single aspect of it falls to you and it’s a lot to take on. Megan from MeganSays breaks it down in her post which you can read here.

If you’ve found this and you’re just starting out: don’t let it put you off. It’s worth the time, energy and effort you put into it. It can be a shock to the system when you are trying to take all of the information on board, but I’ve found the overall experience very rewarding so far.

2. Most bloggers question themselves.

A couple of weeks ago, when I started seriously contemplating blogging, I did a little bit of research. It seemed like everybody else was really confident and comfortable in their own skin. As I mentioned in this post, I’ve always been plagued by the fear that my writing just isn’t good enough, and that nobody wants to read what I have to say. The idea of putting myself out there terrified me. Everyone else was making it look effortless. I felt like I had a mountain to climb.

If I’d delved a little deeper, I would have learnt that I’m not alone in that. Since connecting with other bloggers, I’ve found that they’re dealing with the same worries as I am. Whether they’re questioning their place in the blogging community or worrying about their content, pretty much everyone is going through the same struggles. Even those who seem to have it all figured out are experiencing the same emotions. I’ve found a great deal of comfort in that over the past seven days!

3. The community is amazing.

As an outsider looking in, I always found the blogging community quite intimidating. I thought you had to have certain interests or be a certain way to fit in. It seemed like every blogger I came across was writing about hair and makeup. I was questioning if the things I wanted to write about were suitable and had serious doubts that I would find my place. I needn’t have worried quite so much.

It’s early days and I’m still finding my way, but everyone has been so welcoming. This has had such a positive impact on my mood and my confidence. The community is full of people who are ready and waiting to motivate, support and encourage you. I’d definitely recommend jumping in and interacting with as many other bloggers as you can. Twitter has been the best place for doing this for me. Bloggerkind have been brilliantly supportive and taking part in GRLPOWR‘s chat was highly rewarding. You can find information on different Twitter chats throughout the week here. Twitter chats are a great way to talk to other bloggers and put yourself out there, so I strongly recommend giving them a try when you can.

3 things I learnt about blogging in my first week

What were some things you learnt during your first week of blogging?

Week 1 of blogging - What I've learnt so far
3 important lessons I learnt about blogging in the first 7 days

Approaching 30: Not married? No children? No problem.

Approaching 30: Not married? No children? No problem.

When you’re approaching 30, you start to reflect on your 20s and your life as a whole. You find yourself wondering if it has lived up to your expectations. My guess for most of us who are approaching 30 is that it probably hasn’t but is that such a bad thing? Here’s one of the many ways in which my life didn’t go according to my plan.

At around 18 or 19 years old, I decided one of my goals was to be married by 25.

My logic for this was that to reach a 50th wedding anniversary, myself and my partner would need to live to be around 75. I’ve never decided if I think that reasoning is sweet or silly. In any case, it seemed do-able. I was undecided about children but thought I’d be looking to have them at around 27-30. That was the plan. Spoiler: it didn’t happen and I’m learning to be okay with it.

You can’t plan when you’re going to meet someone and fall in love with them. To put a time limit on that was very naive of me, and I learnt that the hard way. It caused me to make some silly decisions.

At 23, I was in a serious relationship.

We were living together but things were not particularly great. He didn’t have a job, hadn’t done for over a year and was showing no motivation towards getting one. I wasn’t earning a lot of money so I was struggling to pay the bills. He usually had his eyes glued to his computer screen and he very rarely did anything around the house or spent time with me. We were arguing more and more.

I should have taken these as signs to walk away, but we got engaged. I took that as a symbol of his dedication and believed that things would improve. Not to mention the fact that this was right on schedule! My plan was on track! This was what I wanted, after all. If I didn’t seize the opportunity then it probably wouldn’t happen within my deadline. (Don’t feel guilty if you’re laughing at how ridiculous that is – I can laugh about it too now.)

At 25, I was single.

Thankfully, I saw sense before following through with it and called off the wedding. Things didn’t change and I knew I couldn’t stay in that relationship. That’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life. Everyone was looking forward to the big day and to have to announce that it was no longer happening was upsetting and embarrassing. I am surrounded by such wonderfully supportive people that it didn’t take me long to realise that nobody was judging me or disappointed in me.

My plan wasn’t working out too well. When that was over and done with, I started to panic. It felt like everyone else around my age was settling down. Where on earth was I going to find somebody now? All the best people were surely taken or would have children of their own and I didn’t want to be a step-mum. That’s not to say that I don’t agree with the people who are. I have indescribable respect for step-parents but I didn’t feel it was right for me. I’d like to think that, had I met somebody who I really liked who had children, I would have risen to the challenge but I wasn’t convinced.

By 26, I had met somebody new.

Well, actually, for a short while, I made a valiant attempt to make things work with an ex. I truly believed that we were “meant to be” and that this was our time. As with many others things in life, I was wrong. Needless to say, that didn’t have a happy ending, either.

So, I lost some weight, focused on things I enjoyed doing and started to feel better about myself. I joined an online dating site a couple of months before my 26th birthday and met my current boyfriend, Neal. He didn’t have children but he did live 300 miles away. Why is there always a catch? He was great, but I’d tried long distance relationships in the past and found them too hard. Neal was determined, though, and travelled to see me as much as he could. We spent every spare second we had talking to each other. It quickly became serious and we managed to make it work.

At 27, I’m in the happiest, healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in.

Fast forward a year and a half, I’m sat in our flat, writing this post. Neal is wonderful and treats me better than I ever dreamed. I couldn’t possibly imagine being with anybody else and know, beyond any doubt, that this is the person I want to spend my life with. Whenever the time is right for us, I’m confident that we’ll tie the knot and spend many years tormenting each other. It’s a good job I didn’t settle down at 25. I wouldn’t have what I do now. Besides, if we decide it’s right for us, I could still have a child by the time I’m 30 – who knows?

That said, I do find it difficult some days when it seems like everyone else my age or younger is getting married and/or having children. I’m under no illusion that, for most of them, it’s not as perfect as it appears to be. Parenting is a huge challenge and one cute video on social media is probably 5 minutes out of an otherwise hectic day. Yet, I feel like they’re doing better than me. I feel like they’re where they should be and I’m falling behind. Isn’t that ridiculous?

So, here I am, approaching 30…

…and nothing has gone the way I thought it would. I used to scoff when people talked about the pressure to do these things. “Just don’t do it if you don’t want to.” That was my argument, never taking into account how lonely it is when everyone else is doing it and you’re not. Nowadays, I think the pressure for some of us comes less from people telling us to do it and more from feeling like we’re missing out. We’re inundated with posts and pictures and it’s hard to escape the feeling that we need to catch up. We’re not necessarily subjected to people asking us when we’re going to get married or have kids, but we are concerned because we’re not there yet. (The “yet” is very important.)

When I’m being reasonable and fair to myself, I know that there’s nothing wrong with me. My life is simply moving at a different pace to other people’s and that’s absolutely fine! Also, there’s plenty of people my age or older who are in the same situation. It really doesn’t matter. I could have followed my plan and stayed in an unhappy relationship to fulfil it, and I would have been miserable. So, I got out and maybe my life isn’t where I thought it would be, but it’s a whole lot better! Plus, we have the added bonus that we still have those things to look forward to! I’m trying to keep this mentality in play as much as I can, but it does get hard sometimes.

What about you?

If you’re reading this and can relate, I just want you to know it’s normal to feel both ways. It’s also fine to want reassurance that there’s nothing wrong with you for taking a different path. It could be that you don’t even want to get married and have kids – that’s totally cool. There are so many others ways that life can be enriching and exciting. Things can still be great, even when your life doesn’t look like other people’s. This applies to everything in life, not just relationships. It’s fine to feel jealous that other people have gorgeous weddings, crazy adventures and cute kids, but it’s important to understand that just because you don’t have it right now, it doesn’t mean you never will. Scientifically, it is more challenging to have children later in life, but there are more options now than there used to be.

No matter what stage of life you are at – a teenager, approaching 30, over 50 – just keep pushing forward with decisions that are right for you and things will work out just fine.

Approaching 30

Thoughts and feelings about approaching 30
Is your life working out the way you thought it would

What I realised when my dad became disabled

What I realised when my dad became disabled

My dad’s illness led to him becoming disabled, and it changed our lives.

My dad is a diabetic. This disease has had a detrimental effect on his health over the past few years. He has had issues with his eyesight and his feet. Thankfully, he’s had an incredible specialist by his side throughout and he’s now almost able to walk again. He has overcome many challenges, and I am immensely proud of him. However, during his treatment, my dad was in a wheelchair and considered disabled. This made me painfully aware of how ignorant I had been beforehand.

There are so many things that you don’t think about when you don’t have a disability.

You take them for granted. For example, I’d never once stopped to consider the height of steps in shops before my dad couldn’t get into them. I hadn’t had to look out for dropped kerbs that would, ultimately, determine the route from A to B. I’d also never noticed how tiny the writing is on some menus until I had to read them to my dad. These previously insignificant things became big issues in our daily lives.

I had it in my head that being in a wheelchair would perhaps even be fun.

Not having to walk all the time? Sounds fantastic! Seeing how exhausted my dad became after pushing himself along for a short distance made me realise that it’s not fun at all. It’s hard work. My dad can be stubborn, so he would do as much as he could, and we would take over when he was struggling. It was difficult to watch, but it made me wonder about those people who don’t have anyone to help them out. “Well, there’s mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs!” you could argue… except they’re not cheap. Not everybody can afford those, so what then?

It’s not that I thought it was easy having a disability. Of course, I know it’s not. Yet, I had been completely unaware of just how challenging life can be for people with disabilities. The world becomes a lot smaller. There are so many places that you can’t access for one reason or another. Like many things in life, I think you don’t fully understand it until it affects you personally. For the 27 years I’ve been on the planet, I really haven’t given it much consideration. I hadn’t known anyone who was disabled previously so I hadn’t had to. Self-centred as that it is, it’s unfortunately the truth. Then, suddenly, one of the main people in my life was in that situation and we all had to learn to adapt.

Now, I look at the world in a completely different way.

I notice things that I wouldn’t have given a second thought to before, such as where disabled parking spaces are located and how accessible places are. Even when my dad isn’t with me, I’ll look around and think to myself, “could he come here?” Where the answer is no, I get a pang of sadness and guilt for all those people with disabilities who are excluded. I’m not entirely sure how to turn these feelings into significant actions, but I’d like to think I find small ways to do my part. I consider how my dad felt in certain situations and aim to use that as a compass to guide me on how to act.

On a personal level, it proved to me what I always knew: my parents are amazing. I brag about my parents like most people brag about their children. They’re wonderful people. They handled the situation with their usual resilience and good humour. My dad didn’t let it stop him doing what he wanted to do. He loves photography and, despite struggling with his eyesight, he continued to take photos. In fact, he delved deeper into the world of photography and produced some great results. My mum stood by him throughout it all, even when she was having health issues of her own. She tried her best to keep a smile on her face, despite how difficult it was.

Overall, I think the experience has made me more compassionate. It has taught me that I’m very fortunate to be able to go about my business without having to carefully consider every detail of it. I realise that not everyone is that lucky. I have found it frustrating at times, so I can only imagine how hard it could have been for my dad and others in his situation, but I do believe it has made me a better person. As ashamed as I am to admit how oblivious I was, I’m glad that I’ve had this experience. Naturally, I would prefer that my dad hadn’t had to go through it, but I’m grateful for what it has taught me and the person it has helped me to become.

What I realised when my dad became disabled

Have you had a similar experience? What did, or do you, find the most challenging? How has it changed you? Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to discuss this more directly, all of my contact details are here.

How My Dad's Disability Forced Me To Face Some Uncomfortable Truths About Myself
There are so many things you don't think about when you don't have a disability

Mental health: how my diagnosis led me to blogging

Mental health: how my diagnosis led me to blogging

I’m a strong believer in the notion that the more we talk about mental health, and the more that people become aware of how important it is, the better things will be for all of us. On that basis, here’s my story.

When people talk about mental health, they often refer to an inner voice that is constantly belittling them.

I think everyone has two voices inside them. I refer to mine as the cheerleader and the bully. If you have a mental health illness, the cheerleader’s voice becomes a whisper, and the bully is cranked up to full volume. That’s all you can hear – “nobody likes you”, “you’re useless”, “you’re going to fail.” It’s impossible to hear anything else.

For a very long time, I’ve had low self-esteem. Sometimes, I’ve been able to recognise that I’m good at something, but never believed I’m good enough at it. When I was younger, I loved to write. Teachers would sing my praises, and one even suggested I should write a book, but it didn’t matter. I couldn’t possibly pursue that because I wasn’t good enough at it, and nobody would care what I had to say. I have attempted blogging in the past and always abandoned it, for the exact same reason.

Lately, this feeling started to creep into everything. I started to believe that even the people who love me didn’t care what I had to say. I was boring. This led to an increasing feeling of anxiety. I didn’t want to leave the house or speak to anybody. I didn’t want to get in people’s way. Basically, I didn’t want to annoy people. In fact, I didn’t want to be here at all anymore. It was too much. I was being crushed under the weight of my own thoughts.

One night, I burst into tears and told my boyfriend how I had been feeling. We had just returned from visiting my family, and I announced that I didn’t think they liked me anymore. He told me that I was being ridiculous, and I knew that he was right. I like to think that the cheerleader and my boyfriend spoke at the same time, and between them, they made just enough noise to get through to me. I’ve always had doubts about myself and my abilities, but I’ve always been sure that my family love me. My boyfriend suggested that I go and speak to a doctor, so that’s what I did.

Around three weeks ago, I was diagnosed with double trouble: depression and anxiety.

I was prescribed anti-depressants, which I think are now starting to kick in. Guess what? The cheerleader’s voice is getting louder now. She’s telling me I am good at writing, and that I should share that with other people because someone will care what I have to say. The bully is still lurking, occasionally filling me with doubt, but there’s more balance now. It’s because of this balance that I’ve been able to start this blog, and that I believe I’ll be able to stick with it.

I don’t think that I’ve been depressed for my entire life, but I do believe that, eventually, low self-esteem crossed the line into depression. That’s when the bully became deafening. “In revolt” is being in the process of rebelling. I’d like to think that’s what I’m doing against the bully inside my head, hence the name of this blog. The simple act of sharing my writing publicly is an act of defiance. Everything I share here is one more act of rebellion against that voice that tells me I can’t.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to live life with the bully at full volume. When I hear stories of people being bullied, it horrifies me, and that’s human nature. Yet, so many of us let ourselves be bullied by that voice inside our head. If it’s starting to get too loud and too much, there’s help out there to turn it down. Speak to your GP. Find an organisation near you that can help.

Let your cheerleader be heard again and see where it takes you.

Why I started blogging

The Cheerleader Vs The Bully Life With Mental Illness
I wouldn't have a blog if I hadn't hit rock bottom: how mental illness helped me discover a new love