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No one wants to live a toxic life scrutinising someone (or something) else, constantly matching themselves and measuring. That is not a formula for happiness. Life isn’t a competition nor is it fulfilling living in a mirror.
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Last year I chose to write about some New Year Fashion Resolutions which gave me a positive look at what I’m already passionate about. I actually stuck to them and my wardrobe at 2017 ended on a high note! So this year, I’m going to list my intentions and plans. Forget ‘being healthy, losing weight’ etc…
I’ve become more aware of the tyranny of positivity that seems to be everywhere. It’s as though the pressure to be positive has suddenly been shoved in my face on social media and in the form of best selling books. There’s no getting away from it. Now even brands are in on the hype. Forget ‘sex sells’ – today it’s ‘non-viable quotes sells’.
It’s been a while since my last post. There’s a reason. I’ve been squirrelling away finishing some private appointments and getting ready for my new launch. To give you some background, I’ll start at the beginning. My husband works for a top London ad agency and I spent 8 years working for market-leading UK magazines. So you could say digital is a big part of my life. My career was spent liaising with luxury brands – convincing them to advertise in print and online.
Writing this post whilst almost 8 months pregnant feels a bit bizarre. Truth be told I haven’t dated anyone except my husband in four and a half years. A long time! So long in fact that I was one of the last singletons right before the launch of ‘Tinder’, ‘Happn’ and the many other weird and wonderful dating apps around right now. But take algorithm matches, pre-judged assumptions (of photographs) and pre-date online stalking out of the equation and what your left with is a pretty universal date situation. A man and woman (or two women, or two men) coming together over a glass of wine (or vegan juice) with the mutual desire to want to get to know one another. But it doesn’t come without its complications.
Bad Habits Obstructing You From Reaching Your Goals
I’ve had a lot on my plate and whilst I like to think I’m the Queen of productivity, sometimes I’m at risk of getting in over my head. Take the blog for example. When I started it I made a mental list of everything I wanted to do, a set of rules. I wanted to upload blogs everyday, create new content for readers that’s different to others and develop my portfolio of ‘In The City’ brands, (take LittleInTheCity.com for instance).
I got asked when I mentioned I was writing this post on Twitter, Instagram and to some friends. In truth it’s not a ‘real’ industry term. It’s something I made up to emphasise the power of said networker. High energy, impacting and extreme. One of ‘nuclear strength’. Over the years working for top magazine brands I’ve met some extremely successful people – both while working and whilst socialising. A good networker can build bridges but a nuclear networker can walk across said bridge, take a bottle of wine, visit the home and become firm friends with the person.
As we sat waiting for our drinks to arrive, I confessed to Daniel that now we were at The Ivy, I wasn’t sure there was anything left in London that I really, really wanted to do. It was the last unchecked item on my London bucket list, a list that’s taken me almost nine years to get through. Could I really have finished my London bucket list? Are there really no other iconic restaurants, no landmarks, nothing left to see or do? The Ivy totally lived up to my expectations. From the service to the food to the ambiance, everything was ten out of ten. It was one of those dates where you’re having such a good time you purposely take two and half hours to eat your three courses (thank you, Daniel)!
It seems people do think that social media is having a negative impact on our lives. So much so that people are agreeing it’s destroying the art of conversation and it’s ruining our creativity. Communication and creativity are essential life skills to any human so what’s the future for us? When I think of myself with my daughter in years to come, I wonder what she’ll be like at 14. Will she be hanging out in town like I did, wondering if there was anything in New Look to fit her £10 pocket money budget? Phones a thing for adults and something we’d never bother to want? Or will she follow in my footsteps, take an interest in online sociology and become a blogger? One thing’s for sure, she certainly won’t be allowed online for hours and hours.
Last night I lay awake until around 2.30am, my mind in absolute overdrive. I’ve two brand extensions in the pipeline (coming this Summer) and with baby on the way my thoughts are all over the place. Blog post ideas for Sassyinthecity.com; baby brand collaborations for Littleinthecity.com; how our decorating is coming along; dear, is my baby moving enough? It’s tormenting at the best of times but when you’ve even more than usual going on and are reluctant to tell people your business plans, it’s hard to switch off. I almost got up at 3am to pour out a blog post entitled “The Women Who Made Me”. I was consumed with paragraphs of things to write!
Your Biggest Asset: Investments To Make In Yourself
“Your poker privileges have been revoked”
It flashed on my iPhone. I was sat at an online poker table playing for cash. All was going well. I’d multiplied my buy-in by five on my last hand while shopping in the supermarket but now I couldn’t continue. The feelings I had in that moment are largely a mixture of anger, annoyance and fear of missing out. Then I remember. Like many impulsive habits, gambling can be addictive. Importantly I recognise that it’s just a game and I pop my phone back into my bag. Turns out there was a problem verifying my age as my driving licence refers to my maiden name (I digress…).
When I set up my blog, it was a small non-profit website with very few followers. Inspired by my new hobby (tech, website design, SEO and fashion) I started it alongside my day job at a well known magazine. Back then I never intended on blogging full time. I just wanted to practice writing and constantly tweak my site to improve it. I’ve no shame in admitting that my initial posts were terrible but rather than quit I stuck with it, driven by my enjoyment of learning new things and seeing those few extra followers each week reading my posts and clicking links. I never worried about registering as a company, paying tax and National Insurance because I wasn’t earning money from it. When I did start earning money from blogging though, I knew I had to set aside 40% for tax because of my other salary too. Tax on two ‘jobs’ depends on total income: £0 – £5,000 (0% tax), £0-£32k (20% tax), £32-£150k (40% tax), £150k+ (45% tax).
Coasting through life is not something I do easily. In fact, I’m forever having a plan, goals and a calendar to abide by. This year? I found out I’m pregnant, planned a wedding, got married, learned to drive and passed my test. Right now? We’re renovating our home (moving our kitchen to an entirely different room, creating a baby room and some repairs) which can be stressful. “Are you sure the gas will be blocked off correctly?” I find myself worryingly ask my builder. We’re also preparing for our first child alongside blogging on here and LittleInTheCity.com. But whilst one could say it’s the most important time to be preparing and planning, is it wrong that all I want to do is chill out and cruise for a bit?
Over countless glasses of wine (pre-pregnancy obviously) and cups of coffee with PR’s, fellow bloggers and clients conversation often touches upon the subject of blog post content. The ideas, the topics but more importantly, at what point do you stop sharing? Well I’ve always been a pretty open book. During my Uni days I’d tell anyone who would listen about my relationship woes or my course problems. I’d celebrate every success no matter how small with people. I’d say I’ve always been pretty approachable. So when it comes to moving to London, working for magazines and writing a blog, I’ve always been keen to offer my advice and experience. Probably a little too much sometimes.
Discover more about the blogger & creator of Sassy in the City
Lauren lives in North London with her husband and daughter. Following a career spent at GQ, ELLE, Sunday Times Style and more, Lauren now blogs and...