Is Summer officially over? I’m not sure. I’m trying to tell myself that the cut off point is when you have to start wearing forty denier tights again – dealing with the inevitable knee-height hanging crotch and ladders from ankle to arse – but I have a sneaking suspicion that really, the end of August signifies the death of summer. Am I ready to welcome Autumn? Uhhh…well I’m already a bit bored of the glorification of knitted jumpers (itchy), pumpkins (who ever actually makes something edible with the leftover pulp?) and bonfire night (a celebration centred around a terrorist who tried to blow up the government, just saying). I’m not quite in mourning of the Summer months yet, but I’m not ready to jump on the ‘lets skip around in orange leaves in chunky knits’ crew either.
You may have noticed that I haven’t posted on my blog for a while, which was an active choice. I felt I was neglecting it a little and so I decided to take all of August off of publishing and focus solely on brainstorming new ideas, drafting without the pressure to actually post and just generally allow myself some headspace. I’m back and will have a new post every Sunday and Wednesday for the foreseeable future!
So here’s a little summer roundup. A life update, as it were. The highs and lows from June to August in my little world. Well, first of all, June. I finished my final university exam at the end of May and so the first of June officially marked my first ever day as a real life adult, thrust fully into the world of work. Better still, self-employment. Although technically I’ve been my own boss for about a year, I finally don’t have a degree to stress about simultaneously and that’s both terrifying and a relief in equal measure. I think doing a degree whilst running my own business gave me firstly, a safety net – I could use exams and school work as an excuse – and secondly, made me look a bit great (doing both at once). Now? Well holy shit, now I really do have to make it on my own.
In June I won the Blogosphere ‘Lifestyle Blogger of the Year’ award and honestly, I’m still giving my glass trophy a weekly polish. I fear this is beginning to sound like one of those ‘look how great our family is’ newsletters middle-class parents send out every Christmas, but it really was one of my proudest achievements to date so far. In other news, I spent a weekend in Brighton with some of my best friends and their male counterparts and it was just perfect. Sorry for sounding like a smug bastard. It’s just – honestly – the thought of going away with a big group has always filled me a little bit with dread because you see, I am Monica. And Monica often struggles in large social situations when the washing up isn’t done and someone’s sicking on the rental rug. Life and soul, I know. In reality, the trip was exactly what you’d imagine a dreamy weekend away with some of your favourite people would be: everyone got along swimmingly, we laughed until our faces nearly fell off and equally shared the domestic workload so nobody felt out of joint. God, it was fun. September Beth is dying to go back to those hazy, lazy, early Summer days. *Moody Jon Snow voice* Winter is coming.
Then in July, well July, I graduated. My three years at uni were tough and graduating was a bittersweet experience. I was so relieved to have gained my degree and to have a small moment to celebrate myself for doing so, but I also felt a bit weird because I didn’t have a big group of life-long friends to celebrate it with. Actually, I felt quite alone. I think in all honesty a part of that is a symptom of the environment my university created and another was that my turmoil with my mental health in first year stopped me from really living the life and making the friends that may have been there for me. Nonetheless, I was fucking beaming as I walked across the stage and collected a certificate for a 2:1 in a degree I thought I might drop out of, my closest family watching proudly from the gallery. After, we filled up on Italian food and it gave me a good excuse to drink prosecco every day for a week.
Post-graduation I had a bit of a ‘wow, this is really it’ realisation which came with both pride that here I am managing my own time and running my own business, and total overwhelming fear that I’d find a way to fuck it up, or that maybe I just wasn’t good enough and should’ve taken a more conventional route. As a blogger (don’t make me call myself an ‘influencer’), income comes in peaks and pits depending on the season and campaigns are largely dated around consumer spending habits. July was bloody great. Summer campaigns are in their prime, new product launches are around every corner and everyone’s purse strings loosen a little as the weather heats up and the Pimms slows. August? September? Slower. All of a sudden Christmas doesn’t seem that far away and everyone is mildly panicking about saving every penny they have for Christmas; brands and consumers alike. Ah, Christmas. My local Tesco already has tins (they’re actually now plastic tubs which I’m quite peeved about because a) smaller capacity and b) what else is your granny supposed to give you cake in for the next 3 years?) of Quality Street stacked up and when I popped into an interiors store at the weekend they had decorations on sale. *Shudder*.
I took a week off in August. An actual week off. I logged out of Instagram, I put an out of office on for the first time in forever and I couldn’t recommend it more wholeheartedly. I’m planning to publish a post soon about my week off-grid and off-gram, but essentially I hid away in a Shepherd’s Hut in south Devon, barely charged my phone and woke up every morning to a view across Dartmoor national park. It was exactly what my soul needed. That slower pace of life, time spent surrounded by nothing but nature and a reminder of all the homely luxuries we are so graced with, as we attempted to light a gas oven with a stick and had a freezing outdoor shower. True story. I promise it was fun though. For the first time in a long time I returned home feeling as though I’d actually had a holiday, rather than needing another one.
Well, that is until I got a cold. In August. I’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy for the first time this summer, so I know it’s not much to complain about (who remembers the guy who had an actual tree stuck in him?) but it’s thrown me off my game. A snotty nose and a sore throat I can cope with, but I’ve found that my motivation has dwindled and my get up and go has got up and gone. As soon as I battle to climb out of bed in the morning, it has a knock on effect on my mental health. I start saying no to things, doubting myself and cancelling plans, but I’m determined not to be that version of myself again. I really struggle with a lack of direction or routine, so in a way I’m glad it’s September because I’m trying to channel some of that back to school mentality (helllooo new stationery) and embark on project: Get Shit Together. Wish me luck. Anyhow, that’s where I’m at. I’m off to Bali in a week (don’t hate me) and I can already feel happy tears welling at the thought. I’m determined to make September just as much of a ‘new year’ as it was when I was at school. In a way, I think it’s a much better time to make resolutions than in January when we’re all cold, broke and a little bit fat from many a day spent eating Quality Street and drinking Baileys for breakfast.