Times Like These

Oh, helloo!

(In my best Mrs Doubtfire voice! You can hear it too, right?) ๐Ÿ˜‚

It’s been a while. And yet no time at all. I hope this blog post finds everyone healthy, safe and semi-sane! I hope your cupboards are stacked full with wine, your fridge is crammed with delicious treats, your lounge wear wardrobe ever expanding and your exhaustion levels peaked from all your Netflix binging and or ‘chilling’.

I’m currently in a collapsed heap on the couch listening to the Foo’s belt out ‘Times Like These’ which actually inspired me to write something today. I’m longingly staring out my living-room window at today’s beautiful blue sky, watching my neighbour do his 90th lap round the block while out on his daily dose of exercise. It’s now 2pm. I’ve not brushed my teeth yet and my hair looks like it’s been washed in a deep fat fryer. Of course my face hasn’t been washed and to be frank, I’m not sure what day it actually is. I currently have half a tub of sudocream on, no bra and a magnum in hand but damn, it feels good. What a fabulous Tuesday.

The last few weeks have been pretty crazy for everyone, full to the brim with emotion, whether it’s fear, confusion, hope, love, reflection or realisation. It’s been a rollercoaster for everyone all over the world in so many ways. Societies and economies have suffered, some might never recover from what’s happening or worse. I’ve felt more emotions in a day than I have in a month. I’ve been overwhelmed with pride and respect for all our front line workers kicking ass day in day out and putting their own lives at risk to protect ours. I’ve wept uncontrollably while clapping my heart out for the amazing NHS staff on a Thursday at 8pm. I’ve wept uncontrollably at 8am the next day because I miss our family dog. The emotions are high people and the tears ain’t holding back for no-one or nothing!

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What would we do without video calls?

It’s an adjustment for everyone, and things naturally still feel a bit odd even four weeks in. Being told I can only exercise one hour daily has turned me into some sort of avid walker. Boredom has lead to buying excessive snacks any any opportunity which in turn has resulted in my baggy lounging bottoms now resembling a pair of Lycra cycling three quarter lengths. (I shrank some clothes too, whoopsie!)

The perks have been great mind you! No travel time means flopping out of bed for coffee at 8.30am and always being close to the fridge for wine at 5pm. I’m finding lots of new little comforts and routines that I’m really quite enjoying. Every day still throws up random opportunities and presents various set backs, but truth be told, I’m trying to appreciate this time to reflect and ultimately reset.

I guess sometimes, although it may not seem like it at the time… our rubbish experiences do make us appreciate the good ones so much more. Even in the the darkest days, if you look close enough, there are glimmers of beauty everywhere that maybe we didn’t get the chance to really notice before. Maybe it’s because life has slowed down ever so slightly. Maybe it’s because as humans, we are realising what actually really makes our world go round?

Human connection

One of the most important things I’ve realised throughout this time, is how much I value human connection. Sounds simple right, and I suppose it is. A hug from my Mum and being able to hold her close. Huddled up in a cosy bar with my best friends bearing our souls. Finding surprise croissants on my desk from work colleagues when they know I’ve had a tough week. The thought of seeing my family and friends again makes me feel incredibly excited, to be able to wrap my arms around them and tell them how much I love them. Aren’t we so lucky to have people in our life worth missing?

For anyone who hasn’t tried it, FaceTime and Zoom play a huge part in connectivity and making you feel like you are (pretty much) in a room with your loved ones. My first one went down well. Although I got way too excited. I drank x8 French martinis (dropped approximately x2) I can’t remember what the girls and I spoke about for x4 hours as I was utterly intoxicated and proceeded to throw up x3 feeling like I might not make it through the night.

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All fun and games until you drink 8 doubles.

Self love 

How many of us have recently indulged in a bit more self love, self care, self improvement, self respect? HIGH bloody FIVE. It’s so deserved and I’m sure, long over due. Before lockdown, I couldn’t really remember the last weekend I stayed at home, splashed out on a decent face-mask and drank wine at 12pm (OK, 11.45am! And I had snacks. Please don’t judge me!) Life moves pretty fast. It’s all consuming, it’s vivacious, it’s colourful, it’s manic and it’s so precious. But as they say, give yourself the care and attention you do to others and watch yourself bloom!

If you are doing any self maintenance or beauty treats, please (I repeat) please, do not carry anything out after all the wine, especially with tweezers without your glasses on. You will end up with brows circa 1999. I totally didn’t do this. I’m just, you know, just saying…

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The best kinda club!

Magic

I really do believe in magic, you just need to know where to find it. It’s in the pages of an old dusty book, it’s a pink candy floss sunset that is so vivid and breathtaking, you never want it to end. You’ll find magic in small, candlelit bars you never knew existed or when a stranger smiles at you like they’ve known you for years. I’ve stumbled across more of Edinburgh recently that I never knew existed, little things I’ve never noticed before. Rainbows proudly displayed in windows, kids jokes tied carefully to random hedges to make by-passers laugh, colourful doorways, hidden lanes off the beaten track and air so fresh it makes you feel so alive.

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Everyone’s version of magic is different… but make sure you stop, pause and take it all in while you get the chance. ๐ŸŒˆ

Kindness 

If there was ever a time to reach out and spread some kindness, this is it. How often do you think about sending someone a message to tell them how incredible they are? Then totally forgot. How often do you see a card and buy it with intentions to write it, but never get round to it? Yup, me too. If you’ve had one of those moments lately or you can think of someone who you want to reach out to, then go for it… because now more than ever, that someone might just need it more than you could imagine.

I’ve sent some books to family and friends just to let them know I miss them. I’ve also bought some cards to write next week and pop them off in the post. Nothing beats a posted, handwritten letter. If you are thinking of sending a small gift, I would highly recommend checking out the Blurt Foundation. They are a mental health charity and I just love what they do, purposeful shopping with everything from mindfulness books to self care boxes, you can even donate a gift to a stranger to pay it forward. So blooming lovely.

There really is so many incredible people out there who really have been inspiring to us all. I’ve seen people volunteer to help the vulnerable and those most at risk. People who are helping their local communities and neighbours. Donations being made all around the world to help those who need it most. A 99 year old man raising 13 million pounds! Retired staff returning to NHS to keep us safe. People dropping off cakes, flowers or sending notes to tell friends and families how much they are missed. And it’s all just beautiful.

Kindness is something we all need more of in the world, whether it’s to our family, our friends, strangers or to ourselves… and it’s especially needed on the days that feel particularly unkind.

It most definitely is

In this together

It’s an uncertain time but also a time for hope and for courage. A time for friendship and most importantly, love. You are allowed to feel everything and nothing. Embrace the ups and the downs, every single person is managing things differently. Soon, there will be hugs, kisses, hand holding and countless days of just being together. We’ll laugh a little bit harder and hold each other a little bit longer. There’s so much to look forward to and the things that we took for granted will be the most beautiful experiences. Long conversations over a bottle of wine in your favourite bar with your favourite people, going to a gig to see a band you love and hearing the crowd sing every word at the top of their lungs… or watching the sun set the night sky on fire over the city you love the most.

And that, my friends, will be utterly magical.

Sending big hugs to you,

Ash โค๏ธ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’ซ

Double parked soon please

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