Wednesday, May 17

Self-Awareness


A while ago I attended a conference on self-awareness, an idea which I have toyed with and briefly considered throughout my early career, yet I never actually reflected on it with regards to myself. Self-awareness is such a vital part to my life, both at work and with family/friends and I feel that through mindfulness I have been more able to focus on the moment and celebrate what is currently making me happy.

So, the main question is, what is self-awareness?
Self-awareness is the ability of an individual to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses. As humans, we have the responsibility to respond to how we are working and how this can be improved. It is important to be self-aware in order to develop yourself in any aspect of your life, work, social, personal. 

In a fast-paced world filled with deadlines, targets and the judgements of others; it is vital to take a step back from this all and reflect on yourself. To be a effective blogger, student, doctor, graphic designer (etc. - the list could go on); you need to be able to take a look inwards at what you are doing right and what could be improved to make yourself even better. 

However there is a fine line between being self-aware and overly critical, with the distinction between the two being that self-awareness is where the positives are highly celebrated and focused on. Whereas when you are being critical of yourself, you are focusing on the negatives. I therefore aim to keep this self-awareness in mind in whatever I do, being able to stay positive and celebrating the little things. 

So maybe a new thing that you could start doing, as I have, is to everyday write a list of three things that went well. By doing this, I will be reflecting on what I have done and how I want to continue doing this to further better myself and impact on others around me. 

Something that you may be interesting in watching is this short video on self-awareness which focuses on the 'Ladder of Inference'. This video discusses the importance of being self-aware and knowing what has influenced the way you are thinking and acting. To know this, you will then be able to be much more mindful of how to react to situations. TED videos are fascinating and have thousands of inspirational videos!

Sunday, May 14

Like, Realising Stuff


2016 ... what a year.

It's been what feels like an eternity of not blogging. There have been times where I have considered re-entering the blogosphere and rebooting my long lost love for photography. I am ashamed to say that my Nikon DSLR even collected a considerable amount of dust during my time of not blogging. Thankfully, I have buckled up the courage to dust off my Nikon, recharge my battery and re-energise my shutterbug hobby. 

Without going into too much detail, and writing far too much which I am sure would be tiresome to read, I have been through a lot in 2016. With starting a new job, embarking on a Masters and loosing my mother to lung cancer. 2016 was an extremely emotional year, it was what I consider to be a turning point in my short-lived, 23 year life. I have learned a lot from my heartbreak, anguish and difficulties. I have learned that I need to just be me. And when I boiled it down to what truly makes me happy, I realised as though my new job had stolen my thirst for photography and writing. However I continued to pursue the new job thinking that through not blogging I would be okay, as though I could live without enjoying doing something I love; something I started back in University. Yet, when my mum was diagnosed with lung cancer, my life seemed to flip, I started to feel as though I'd been living to work and not working to live. I realised that I needed to spend more time with my family, friends and investing in memories. 

Blogging for me is my creative outlet, it's my passion. When I say I felt as though something was missing, I almost had a feeling as though I had lost a piece of myself. I typed in my URL and through clicking through the links to previous blog posts, I remembered what it was like to be carefree, to live life in the moment and to put me first. So, after many moments of thought, I have finally decided to do what is right for me, to blog. 

I am so excited for what is ahead and I intend for my blog to be a raw and honest diary of my perspective on life. I want to start vlogging, as well as documenting my journey as I and my fiancĂ© renovate our Victorian home. I want to share my favourite and original recipes. I want to photograph wildlife. I want to do what I want, and for me that is blogging.

I can't wait to share my journey with you, and for those of you who I have lost touch with over the past year, it's a happy hello and welcome to my life. So, let 2017 be a year of continuing to like, realising stuff. 

Kate xo

Monday, April 4

Why Did I Start Blogging in the First Place?



Way back when I was in first year at University, me and my friend were discussing our favourite blogs, my favourite being Cupcakes and Cashmere and hers was The Londoner. It was so refreshing to be able to discuss with someone else the whole blogging world as many people were not aware of lifestyle and fashion blogs. We would spend hours discussing their travels, recipes, clothes and cosmetics. I had already started And Kate in the summer, but I felt that I wanted to blog with a friend and learn together more about the excitement of blogging. 

And so The Lifestyle Digest was born. This was a really fun project that we had going on the side of our ever increasing University work. We would both alternate with our posts, taking it in turns to create and publish posts that really reflected our passions. After a few months of blogging together, I was thirsty to blog more frequently and really wanted to generate a reflective blog of my life. So we both decided that it would be better to create our own blogs now that we had gained our experience of the big blogging world together. 

So in December 2012 I returned to my original blog, And Kate. This is when I majorly fell in love with blogging, the concept of creating an online visual diary of your life inspired me and ever since then my blog has grown along with me. This is probably one of the main things that keeps me blogging, the creative expression and connecting with other bloggers. I also find it amazing how I have documented my life for the past 4 years and I can see how I have evolved as a person. 

I thought that it would be a really nice idea to take you back to where it all started and share with you my first few favourite blog posts.

1. Our Summer Escape - my first blog post ever back in August 2012 where I created a photo diary of my holiday with Ben to Corfu.
2. City Break Edit: London - a post all about my fabulous short stay with my cousin Charlotte and older brother Mike.
3. This Week - this was my first ever series where I would discuss five things that had happened that week. It's not all that different to my series that I am currently doing, Snapshot (#1, #2).

Thursday, March 31

March Vlog



As I love taking photographs of near enough absolutely anything, I thought I would start a new series where I document the highlights of each month, but through a video diary. It has been such a wonderful month, I have realised the importance of doing things that make you happy rather than seeing happiness as a distant goal. I have also loved spending time with both mine and Ben's family celebrating birthdays. Onwards and upwards with a new month tomorrow, lets hope April is just as fantastic :).

Expect to see a video diary on the last day of each month! 

What was the highlight of March for you?

Wednesday, March 30

Snapshot #5





Given that it's been a long Easter bank holiday weekend and I am now off work for a week on my Easter break, I have been busier than ever. Our home is undergoing serious renovations in both the living room and kitchen. In my previous Snapshot #4 article I mentioned that we were getting an AGA fitted. The electrician has done all of the electrical work, fitting lots of thick looking cables and making a lot of mess in the kitchen. However we are still without our AGA as we need to fit the slate that the AGA will sit on before it gets connected to the wire. That means that we have been without cooking facilities for over a week, which has left Ben and I resorting to lots of take-out meals. Pro of this being: we don't need to cook in the dust of the kitchen. Con of this being: eating far too much unhealthy food. I am really missing cooking as I find it extremely therapeutic. I have to say though, I cannot wait for the AGA to finally be fitted as then I can return to being a domestic goddess.

As well as the kitchen being upside-down, Ben and I spent the whole weekend laying, sanding and sweeping the reclaimed pine floorboards in our living room (documented on Instagram). I am so excited with the renovation so far and am starting to be able to picture what our living room will look like when it's all done. My previous post on Victorian living rooms is serving as my inspiration go-to.

This week I am smiling because...

1. I received an invitation to my best friend's wedding. 

2. Designing the gallery wall in the living room and looking for inspiration on Etsy and Pinterest.

3. Grabbing a take-out coffee and editing photos for endless hours.

4. Binge watching Orange is the New Black and being fixated. I am yet to get Ben to watch it!

5. Tending to my newly planted flowers. I am hoping the English lavender and white rose bush start to bloom.

Friday, March 25

Spring Walk

With it being Easter Bank Holiday weekend, I am planning on doing lots of walks with Ben and Harry. A few weekends ago we went on a delightful walk around the fields behind our home. We are so fortunate to have endless fields surrounding our home and so when we take Harry for a walk, we are able to let him off the lead to really run wild in the wilderness. He absolutely adores playing with his blue toy, he could be distracted for hours on end. 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend relaxing with your loved ones!

Wednesday, March 23

Snapshot #4


This past week has been a real eye-opener for me. I am increasingly learning how to develop a healthy work-life balance. Being a primary teacher, as well as working towards my qualification, is a very demanding job. Even though school finishes at 3:15, there are still 101+ things that need to be done in preparation for the next day. I am steadily learning the importance of prioritising my workload and realising that sometimes I am best being honest with people and saying 'no' rather than increasing my workload to appease others. I think the whole topic of a healthy work-life balance is really important to discuss in greater detail and I want to share more of my thoughts on this constant battle in a subsequent post. 
For now, I am enjoying the following five things...
1. Pottering around my garden and tending to my newly planted flowers.
2. Finally getting our AGA fitted in the kitchen. Now I can cook proper meals and have dinner parties! Yippee.
3. I'm looking forward to the fast approaching Easter holiday where I will spend my days aimlessly walking with Harry, Ben and my Nikon.
4. Editing a video which I think you will all love! Eeeek.
5. Heading down to the local pub this Friday with my brother, Charlotte, Ben and Sam. 
Happy mid-week everybody!

Monday, March 21

Sorrento, Italy / Part III



After celebrating the night away as we were newly engaged, we woke up gleaming with happiness and skipped to breakfast. The breakfast at our hotel was unbelievable. The panoramic views of Sorrento all the round to Vesuvius were staggering. And as for the food, oh my goodness me! The food was equally unbelievable. The hotel served a continental breakfast with a banquet offering everything you could imagine, from cereal, pastries, hams, cheese all the way to a chef who cooked you fresh eggs whichever way you liked them. Ben religiously every morning opted for an omelette, whilst I asked for fried egg. 

After our breakfast we headed towards the train station, stopping at the local bakery for a sandwich to take with us for our lunch in Pompeii. Like the previous day, we had already purchased our tickets for the Pompeii ruins at the train station in Sorrento. This meant that when we got into Pompeii train station, we were greeted by a tour guide who took a group of us around the Pompeii ruins. This was such a wonderful experience, we learnt so much about the history of Pompeii and the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius. Walking around the town, it felt surreal, there were so many similarities with this ancient town and modern day towns. One of these similarities being that there were numerous fast food restaurants, the Roman equivalent to a McDonalds!!

The tour guide lasted around 3 to 4 hours and by this point our breakfast had been digested and our stomachs were relentlessly rumbling for our bakery sandwiches. So we found a quiet bench and people watched whilst devouring our sandwiches. 

And of course, once we landed back in Sorrento, we had to get a lemon sorbet!