where have I been?!

Hey blog fans,

So I’ve been AWOL for a while now but it really warms my heart to see that there’s still readers and commenters stopping by. Thank you so much to anyone who has interacted with me and/or the blog despite the lack of content recently. It’s really for you guys that I felt I owe you an apology and an update as to where I’ve been hiding in March.

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So where have you been?!

Some of you might know that I’m in my final year of an undergraduate degree and that means hella work! My course doesn’t have exams, we just have to complete coursework. So with reading, research and writing for several essays and the dissertation, alongside commitments in my personal life, I have had virtually no time to blog, take photos or film. It has been playing on my mind and getting me down because I love this blog and I’ve ‘met’ and spoken to some great people as a result of my ramblings. I don’t want to feel like I’ve let anyone down.

In addition to this, I’ve not been able to read or keep up to date with a lot of my favourite blogs and bloggers. So many fab beans online and they put out some great, thoughtful and inspiring content and I’ve not been to any of their sites in a month or more! If this is you (I hope you know who you are!) please don’t think I’ve forgotten about you or that I’m not interested in your site anymore…

I’ve just got virtually no time and when I have down time, I use it as just that!

 

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It also goes back to the self care thing that I’m always harping on about. When you’re working on anything for several hours a day every day, and you’re trying to juggle ‘extra-curricular’ activities too, you’ve got to take some me-time now and again. At the moment, my self care involves going for food or drinks with my friends, snuggling up to play games or watch things with Josh. Even just a nice bath can give me that much needed half hour of respite!

I guess this is just a post to say, please stand by as I finish my dissertation and complete my course and apply for jobs and try not to implode! It’s only a couple of weeks now but they’re so crucial and I know myself well enough to know that if I overload myself with a million and one responsibilities, I’ll have a meltdown. Not the time nor place to do that!

I promise that there’s some great content coming your way in the next few weeks anyway as I’m editing and filming a couple of rather interesting vlogs, going to a couple of fab events and I’ve got a secret diarist contributor who will remain anon writing about something rather… intimate.

Stay tuned my lovelies and wish me luck!

Jenna
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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
Mental Health and University – Don’t panic! If your deadlines are getting to you, I’ve got some advice about your looking after mental health at university.
Why I’ve Been Invisible On Social Media This Christmas – I went silent on social media over the holidays, and here’s why…
Self Care (and why no one should make you feel bad about it)A piece for Zusterschap about making time for self care.

collab: Ending Toxic Relationships

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First of all, let me put a little disclaimer as to what I mean by ‘toxic’.

A toxic relationship for me is any time where one person does something to the other person’s detriment over a long period of time. This isn’t necessarily any kind of abuse; it could also be neglect or even lying.

I have had a few toxic relationships in my life, friends and partners, and I am now a firm advocate for removing that toxicity from your life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an honest and forgiving person and so if I’m affected by something you’ve done then I’ll make it pretty clear and give you a chance to redeem yourself (within reason). However sometimes – and this is the killer – the relationship aint worth saving.

Last year a friendship that we had cultivated for several years came to an end. I will hold my hands up and say I had bottled up some of my frustrations with this person but they had become toxic to the point where the relationship was beyond repair. Having been lied to repeatedly, neglected and generally made to feel like I didn’t matter, I knew that all of my efforts were in vain as I tried to have it out with them about my feelings. It might sound like I wasn’t being forgiving but after several months of putting so much effort in for someone and them not meeting you remotely halfway, there comes a point where you have to pick yourself up and say ‘enough is enough’.

As Louis C.K. says in Season 5 of Louie:

“I’m telling you that it hurt and you don’t get to deny that. When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.

It feels oddly therapeutic to write this because I have always been the person who let things go, who let people get away with upsetting me. I now realise that I didn’t do that this time and that’s a good thing. I tried to make this person see what their actions had done to me but I think they either didn’t care enough or weren’t ready to admit their guilt about it.

I still miss this person but I miss the friend that I had. By the end of the relationship, they weren’t the same anymore and we had grown apart completely. It’s weird because you sort of grieve for them as you come to terms with the fact that they’re out of your life for good. Despite this sense of sadness and loss, I am still proud of myself for standing up and saying I deserve better. I was sick and tired of constantly being concerned about someone who didn’t seem to care that their actions were detrimental to me. I made them a priority and felt like I was only an option.

If you’ve had to end a toxic relationship or you’re thinking about doing so, my advice would be this: be strong, prioritise yourself for a change and think about if there’s a way in which you guys could patch things up. If there’s not, then cutting that person out may well be the best option for your wellbeing, even if it hurts at the time.

I asked one of my dear online friends and fantastic blogger types Lucie Wang if she would contribute to this post, having had a similar experience.

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I used to be the kind of girl who had mostly male friends. Cal was my best mate for years; we bonded pretty much instantly over a love of banana martinis and questionable music. He was goofy and hilarious, and by some crazy coincidence we started seeing a pair of siblings at around the same time. So it made sense for the four of us to sneak off during a party back to mine to hang out. Even when the cracks started to show, I always stuck by him.

There were alarm bells of course. The fact he introduced me to girls he wanted to sleep with as his “only female friend”, the one token woman who could vouch for him. The way he spoke about my girlfriends made me feel uncomfortable. He always joked that I wasn’t like “other girls”, and naive as I was back then, I believed this was a compliment.

One night he told me he wanted his “best friend” to meet his girlfriend, but when she got up to go to the toilet he asked me to pay for dinner because he didn’t want her to know he couldn’t afford it. The next day I sent him a long text to let him know that though I’d decided not to embarrass him in front of his new girlfriend, what he’d done wasn’t ok. I’d helped him out when he’d been in trouble before, but this was the end of the line for me. And just like that, I walked away. I changed gyms so I wouldn’t run into him, I untagged myself from promo videos he’d put up on Facebook to promote his personal training business (because even after we stopped talking, he still tried to use my personal page to advertise his services). That was the last time I spoke to him.

For weeks afterwards, I felt awful. Not for how things ended, but because I felt the fact they ended at all put a horrible cast over the friendship we’d had. I stayed close to his older brother for awhile, but the fact that we could never speak about Cal (and believe me, we talked about everything else) made things uncomfortable between us in the end.

Know what I learned? Walking away from a toxic friendship isn’t the end of the world. We hold on to some people for longer than their expiration date because we want to remember the good times. We have these great memories of what the honeymoon phase was like but the thing about memories is, sometimes we choose to remember only the fun stuff.  Not the times we had to make excuses for their behaviour both to ourselves & to other people. Not the emotional blackmail. Not the nasty little comments disguised as “friendly banter”. We remember the few times they were there for us, but also forget the far more frequent times they weren’t. Our brains are somehow wired to retain the positive, maybe as a survival instinct to maintain social constructs of friendship. We don’t remember all the times we had to act a certain way to avoid being mocked by them, but I will certainly remember the feeling of relief when I walked the hell away from that toxic situation. So many nights I couldn’t sleep because I wasn’t sure how to bring up the fact this friendship was affecting my mental health. I drafted a million conversations and replayed them in my head. It took so much energy to maintain, and you know what the kicker was? I didn’t even like the guy in the end.

I learned a lot. I learned that people change, and sometimes not for the better. Sometimes you keep friends from an old life, and that’s fine. Those people you met through an ex. Old friends from school you have nothing in common with. That dude from uni who posts borderline racist memes on Facebook. Why would you put yourself through that? Life goes on. No one really cared that we were no longer close, and thought it was mentioned a few times when people asked if I’d seen him lately, now almost a year later it’s almost as if we were never friends at all. And let me tell you, I am a much happier person for it.

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Lucie is a Canadian woman with fabulously bright hair living in Edinburgh. She works in design by day and blogs about feminism, food and lifestyle by night over at tetrisandcheesecakes.com.

Have you ever had to end a toxic relationship?

Do you currently think you’re suffering in one?

 

Either leave a comment or you can privately email me anytime at jennalouiselloyd27@gmail.com.

Jenna
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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
Being ‘bossy’ vs being ‘The Boss’ – Is being bossy bad or does it actually make you The Boss?
Mental Health and University – I talk about the importance of looking after your mental health at uni…
“You Can’t Be A Feminist If…” – genuine things I’ve been told make me ‘not a feminist’
Self Care (and why no one should make you feel bad about it) – A piece for Zusterschap about self care

Jazmin’s 15th Birthday (in pictures)

So my little sister Jazmin is now fifteen which is terrifying – as if I ever needed reminding that I’m growing up ever faster!

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I remember changing her nappy for crying out loud!

I remember reading her bedtime stories and watching countless episodes of Dora the Explorer.

I remember cutting all the hair off of her Barbie dolls once because she annoyed me.

I remember how she was very compliant in starring in my plays and wearing whatever weird costumes I asked her to.

I remember how I made her be the student and we would play ‘school’ where I’d give her pretend work to do.

Mostly I remember how I was so glad to have a sibling to play with.

She gave me a reason to act responsibly, encouraged my love of learning and taught me a great deal about patience and fairness . I had to share, take turns and set an example in what I did from there on out.

Basically, my little sister made me want to be somebody she looked up to.

 

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For her birthday we went to Frankie & Benny’s in Bournemouth for dinner.
Me, Jaz, Mum, Nan and Josh had a great time joking around and stuffing our faces with some great food.

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Jaz was pretty impressed with her Banana and Butterscotch Milkshake

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…and her new wheels for her longboard!

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I got some lovely pictures of my beautiful Mama and Nanny… I hope I look as good as them when I’m their ages.

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Josh and Jaz spent a lot of time goofing around…

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I had a really tasty Grilled Chicken Pitta with barbecue sauce which came with fries, corn on the cob and coleslaw.

It was a really big portion for just £11.45 and everything was cooked well.

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I even had dessert and I never normally opt for something sweet!
Mind you, it was Salted Caramel Cheesecake with vanilla ice cream so my hands were tied…

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It’s a great family-friendly restaurant and the staff were really helpful. We didn’t have to wait long for our meals either, despite it being a busy Friday night. We also got 20% off our total bill because I used my NUS Extra card. I’d recommend Frankie and Benny’s Bournemouth for groups on a bit of a budget but would advise that some might find it too lively for a first date or a catch up with someone.

Have you been to a Frankie and Benny’s? Did you enjoy your visit?

Where have you been for dinner lately?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below!

Jenna

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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
hangover bacon cups with British Lion Eggs* – a morning-after breakfast savior made with ethical eggs
Scissors Christchurch Ladies Night* – My Nanny and I got a night of food and pampering thanks to Scissors Salons!
She Who Dares Wins ’15 (in pictures) – A Bournemouth conference about kick-ass women and gender equality in business.

Christmas Day (in pictures)

(For the vlog on this page, scroll to the bottom of the post.)

 

Happy  (belated) Holidays everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday period spending time with people you love and that you got to take time out of your busy lives to relax. I certainly did as I pretty much swore off of social media over Christmas to spend more time with friends and family and to stop pressuring myself so much about posting.

I always go to my Mum’s house on Christmas Day and I spend it with her, my little sister Jazmin and my Nan. Josh usually arrives in the evening once he’s had dinner with his family and it’s his birthday on the 25th too so it’s always a lovely day. Though we aren’t at all a well-off family, we tend to get each other some very thoughtful and important gifts because it’s the one time of year where we treat each other. The holidays for us aren’t about spending tons of money on extravagant details, they’re about quality time with the people you love and spending a day being kind to ourselves and one another.

 

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Nothing beats my Mum’s cooking – she’s who taught me what I know about food! We had a lovely day listening to music, watching a film and playing games well into the night and I did manage to grab a few great moments on my camera that I didn’t post online at the time. I love rewatching all of my family’s reactions (including Lenny the dog) to their special gifts in the vlog below…

 

Did you enjoy the holidays?
Did you do anything special?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.

Jenna
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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+

If you liked this post, you should check out:
Christmas Family Fun Day with Lisa and Ofelia – Me, my sister-in-law and my niece had a fun festive day and I vlogged it!
Why I’ve Been Invisible on Social Media This Christmas – Find out why I didn’t post over the holiday period…

adventures: Christmas Family Fun Day

(I know this is a bit late but if you want to read why I didn’t post over the Christmas period, see here. For the vlog on this page, scroll to the bottom of the post.)

I am proud to be called an Auntie to three amazing children – Ofelia, Erin and Logan. Despite usually finding it difficult to bond with peoples’ kids, these three are very important to me and I try to dedicate as much time and energy into spending time with them and their parents as possible.

Just before Christmas, I planned a whole week of seeing my nieces and nephew because the magic that children see at that time of year is the best. Unfortunately, I got tonsilitis and wasn’t able to see Erin and Logan until recently but me, my sister-in-law Lisa and little Ofelia had a really fun and festive day just before I got ill so I thought I’d show you guys what we got up to!

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First on the agenda was visiting a local garden centre because their Christmas displays are always gorgeous. We went to Haskins in Ferndown and Fee was instantly enamored with all the soft and sparkly seasonal stock.

 

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There were some beautiful ornaments, some of which had moving parts that we really liked but it was important not to touch them!

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The trip made me really wish we had our own place so that I could have got some nice decorations but this time next year, I’ll definitely be going back. After a quick bit of ‘ladies who lunch’ we went next door to Hobbycraft to get some gifts.

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ofelia_lisa_toddler_shopping_hobbycraft_mumNext stop was the supermarket to grab some ingredients to make Christmas cookies. Fee really enjoyed doing this but kept asking “Can we eat them yet?” before we’d put them in the oven!

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While baking the cookies, we opened Fee’s Peppa Pig advent calendar.

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Then we made some Christmas cards using some of the bits we got from Hobbycraft. Lisa helped Ofelia to make cards for her grandparents and one for me and Uncle Josh (“Make sure Uncle Josh gets my card!” she said…)

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We had lots of cuddles and playtime then snacked on our cookies – delicious! It was a really fun day overall and we did it all on a budget.

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Below is my rather poorly cut together vlog from our day. It is best watched in 720pHD with the sound on.
Please bear with me as I still get to grips with the camera, the editing software and basically everything!

Did you do any fun activities for the holidays?
What children’s activities do you do on a budget?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.

Jenna
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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+

If you liked this post, you should check out:

Why I’ve Been Invisible On Social Media This Christmas – I went offline in order to spend the holidays with my loved ones…