1 April 2019

A Life Update: April 2019

Hampshire Lifestyle Blog

It's been a while since I have done a personal update post in which I shared my thoughts and journey on hitting 2 years of working for myself and owning a small business. I'm going to be honest with you and tell you that in 2018, my blogging mojo went somewhere - I only wrote 30 blog posts, which is a teeny amount! And most of them have been collaborations with brands which is fab, but I didn't share as much of my personal experience or thoughts, or even what's been going on. So after running a poll and asking you guys what you wanted to read about over on my Instagram account, 100% of you wanted a life update post! I love reading life updates, in fact I love reading blogs. And I feel really sad that I haven't had the chance to share my thoughts, knowledge, and stories with you - I really want to, and this year I'm going to get back into a routine where I make the time to do something I love.

Gosh. Where do I start? I guess I'll just ramble on and we'll get there in the end! Since my last update, life has been pretty hectic. I spent last year living on my own as my fiancĂ© was on deployment with his work for pretty much the entire year. That was hard. Emotionally I pretty much shut down during that time - imagine all those couples on Don't Tell The Bride who cry because they won't see their other halves for 3 weeks; we've had 9 months apart. During that time I focussed 100% on my work and building my business - it worked as I got very, very busy. So busy in fact, that I quickly experienced burnout - I can tell you now, no one should be working from 8:30AM until 1AM with only a couple of hours break. The financial rewards were great - but I felt so tired that I stopped enjoying anything which that money was good for. I realised what was going on and started to make changes to my life, it took me months but I'm finally feeling like that burnout has worn out and I'm back to myself in terms of energy and motivation - I'm getting very creative, starting new business ventures, I have the passion to do things I love again. Guys, it's insane how much burnout affects you physically and mentally. If I can advise you to do anything it's to take regular breaks and not only during the day but also have weekends and weeks away to recharge your batteries. In my blog post I shared how I felt during the burnout and also how I started to tackle it to make sure I was resting enough and got thought burn out - if you feel like you're on the verge, give it a read.

Hampshire Lifestyle Blog

I think my burnout also came from an erratic emotional state - I felt very lonely. I lived alone, I worked from home, I definitely didn't get out as much as I did the year before and it really got to me. It's not uncommon for freelancers or anyone who works from home to feel this way - and being naive about it doesn't help, I recognised why I was feeling the way I was but refused to do anything about it and laugh it off as part of the package BUT there are many ways to avoid this - sometimes easier said than done, I know! So I started having my friends and family over more, calling my friends and catching up in the evenings and building a bigger social life which I'm so thankful for now. I've rebuilt my relationships with people who I love and want to be in my life, and I can't wait to have even more adventures with them. I think when you get to the end of your 20's you start to realise what's really important in life, and that people are different, handle situations differently, and don't think alike. I've learnt to say 'I'm sorry' when I truly mean it, I've learnt to forgive and forget, and I've learnt to understand other's point of view even if I don't agree with it at first. I've learnt a big lesson to put myself in other's shoes and stop before I make choices or judgements. I feel like working with so many different people in situations which I've never been in before and making new relationships, I finally understand others even when I don't agree.

2019 started with a bit of a sad note - my house bunny Binky was diagnosed with an illness and sadly passed away during the first week of the year. It was a horrible time as with any loss - especially waiting and wondering if he was going to make it when he was kept at the vets for observation for a number of days. I love out vets - if you're in the Andover area I highly recommend Anton Vets who have been amazing every single time my babes had to go there. They treat animals like members of the family which is how they're supposed to be treated - not like our old vets who basically saw every opportunity as a cash cow. No thanks. By this point I think my head was so far in a negative spiral because I was still feeling down and burnt out, I kind of just switched on autopilot and just got by in a routine every day.

I'm a spiritual person and believe in energies and auras as well as supernatural occurrences (but that's for another post!) so when I found out there was a psychic fair in our small town I immediately made plans to go. I had my tarot cards read and they were creepily accurate - but my main message was to slow down and think about my business plans. As well as to have more fun and to travel more, both of which I am onboard with! I've been feeling like that for ages - I feel like 2018 I went at a speed of 150mph and even my own brain and thoughts couldn't catch up with me. So I embraced the autopilot for a little while and gave my mind space and time to recover and also think about what I want, where I'm going, and most imputably how am I going to do it?

When I went back to client work after taking a festive break, I was very excited to onboard a new brand which is a fashion, gift, and children boutique in Stockbridge and I'm in love with it - the shop sells the most beautiful stock (which is so dangerous because I could basically spend the money I make in there!) and we have very exciting plans to keep pushing it forward with digital marketing and branding. I also signed up with a Hampshire marketing agency to work with their clients on social media projects which is very exciting - so this was a big positive, on boarding clients for regular contracts. I have also worked on exciting one off projects with some amazing businesses on their branding, website redesigns, lifestyle photography, and content creation. When I think about my business, my clients, and how Dalry Rose Digital is growing it makes me so happy. I made a decision last year after my burnout to work with brands and clients who share the same passion for their businesses and are creatively open, that's the best way to build an ongoing and successful partnership.

I also joined a new networking group called The Coven Girl Gang which is run by the amazing Sapphire and is a place for female entrepreneurs and business babes to get together, learn lots of new and exciting things through online webinars and workshops, and help find the services they're looking for from each other! It's a great group and if you're a business babe you should definitely check it out! The girls from The Coven and Sapphire herself are amazing at giving advice and support when you need it.

Feeling super creative, I decided to start an Instagram account to tell people about the food I love and share recipes - so I launched Lanka Cooks as a passion project. I love flavours of the world and am constantly trying new food. I literally spend half of my life in the kitchen either cooking on my own or entertaining guests for dinner and drinks. I love the flavours of my childhood which are Georgian, Abkhazian, Russian, and Ukrainian cuisine so I decided I would love to recreate some of them in my own kitchen and document what I'm doing. One day I would love to have my own cook book and I just wanted to suss out what you guys think of the recipes... So head over and make sure to leave me a comment so I know if you like it!

Just as I thought I was on a smooth path, my pooch got sick. Harvey aka my entire life with four legs and furry skin fell ill - I'm still not 100% what happened because the vet said he had an inflammation in his brain which is common in older dogs (Harvey is 15), but I'm convinced it was a nasty ear infection from the symptoms and how he behaved. My poor pooch couldn't walk properly without falling over, he needed help being held upright, to eat, to drink, and we had daily visits to the vet for an injection to help him with symptoms. I stayed at home with him 24hrs a day for a week to monitor him and make sure he had everything he had to be comfortable. I slept on the sofa with him for 7 nights, and stayed up watching him to make sure he was ok. It's with such relief that I can say he's made a full recovery and is back to normal - louder and more energetic that ever! But after losing Binky earlier in the year, I was terrified to lose my best friend. Because I genuinely don't know how I'm going to cope without him. Aren't dog just the best but goddamnit losing them is one of the worst things. But let's not dwell on things which (thank god) didn't happen - the chap has many adventures left in him which I cannot wait to take him on! He's currently snuggled up next to me on the sofa, snoring away.

There have been other things that happened almost on a streak which made me feel like maybe, just maybe, I was hexed: like my car broke in the middle of a roundabout and another car smacked into me; I then found out my car couldn't be fixed (all this right after I've paid a big tax bill i.e. I was skint); I then fell down the stairs in my house and ended up in A&E with a concussion, a black eye, and a cut forehead. All I can think is actually how blessed I am: it could have been a lorry which smacked into me on that roundabout and not a KIA which could have not just damaged my car but also me; and I could have ended up with a broken neck rather than a black eye flying down those steps so.... I'm seeing the bright side! But I am also wearing my evil eye bracelet my mum brought me from Abkhazia, just in case...

In between all of these general life things, it's been pretty hard to make time for blogging. I have the most respect now for anyone who single handedly looks after their home, their pets, has a healthy social life and excels at their careers because bloody hell it can be hard work! But the thing is we make it work because life isn't always flowers and bumble bees on a sunny day - some months it gets hard, in many ways and in ways we're affected personally. And it's totally OK to feel a little down, and it's definitely OK to have a break from whatever, and it's OK to spend more time in bed when you need the rest. You do you boo, and your body and mind are amazing things that will guide you to feeling right again.

So what's the plan now?

I've been having some exciting meetings and calls with new businesses and brands who would like to work with Dalry Rose Digital and are based not only in Hampshire but also in other countries, and I'm very excited to get stuck in! I also have a space that's opened up for a new client to be welcomed to grow and bloom with me through digital marketing so I'll be speaking to some of the brands who have previously emailed me. I'm also hosting a couple of training sessions around Hampshire to help more businesses understand social media - and I have started taking on coaching clients and helping them learn how to make digital marketing work the best for them.

I have also relaunched Dalry Rose Styling, my personal styling services in and around Hampshire, and I work with women not only on looking amazing but also getting back the confidence they lost through the changes their body has gone through. I took a little bit of a break from the styling business last year as for a few months I had to get to a new balance and routine with Dalry Rose Digital but now that's I've mastered that I am also excited to get back to my styling clients with new offerings!

There are a couple of creative projects I also want to take on, but they're a little secretive at the moment - I'll make sure you guys are the first ones to hear about them though! Through the blog of course - I may not be committing to posting every single day like I used to, I want to post at least once a week and get back to this schedule. I already have a fe blog posts in the pipeline to start this schedule and then keep on top of it. If there are any topics you want me to cover specifically, message me or comment and I'll make sure to add them to my schedule!

I'm planning my adventures this year - although it's looking more like days out and weekends away in the UK, as Liam and I are back on track now that he's back in the country, and we would love to own our own home. So that's where the focus is - and once that's out of the way, we'll be planning an Italian road trip to celebrate! Any places we should add to our 'must see' list?

If you've made it this far, you definitely deserve that second biscuit with your cup of tea!! That's kind of my life update in a nutshell - of course that's not all that's happened but I won't bore you with the daily details. I do however want you to know that we all go through our own crap times. Someone said to me the other week "I never would have known all of this because on Instagram everything seems so perfect!" and that's just the thing with social media. We put up our best version of ourselves and our lives - it's a happy showreel of memories we want to remember. I try to be as real as I can, but my accounts are a positive space for my viewers and I want to inspire. From time to time, like now, I tell you guys the honest truth because you asked me and I want to deliver.

But what I also want you to know is that whatever you're going through - you're strong, you're clever, you'll make it work, and it honestly doesn't last forever. What is important is a positive mindset, determination, belief in yourself and the people around you, and self-care.

Now, hit me up with either requests for posts and topics; or where your favourite places to go to are in the UK, or Italy!

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