Queen of Jams

Queen of Jams

Okay this Jam (Rhapsodie de Fruit, High Content Fruit Spread, Raspberry) is officially the best Jam out there (in supermarkets, I'm not dissing your granny's homemade jams) and here's why:

– It doesn't contain cane sugar (all sugars are from unsweetened fruit juices)
– It's 51% raspberries (it does also come in other flavours but haven't checked their percentages as why would you get anything but raspberry).
– It doesn't contain preservatives, flavouring or colours; IT'S LITERALLY JUST FRUIT.
– It also doesn't contain gelatine (using fruit pectin, naturally found in fruits, to get the jam consistency) or Cochineal (red food colouring made from beetles) so it's vegan!
– It's available in supermarkets not just health food stores, so it's easy to get your fix.

This has always been my favourite jam since I was little, find me a better one (or what you think is better) and I'll be happy to try it! But for now, Rhapsodie de Fruit wears the sticky crown!

10 Life Lessons I Wish I Knew When I First Moved From Home

1) Buy 4ply toilet paper. That 80p saved by buying the cheapest ‘own brand’ is NOT worth scratchy toilet paper on sensitive areas. Treat your bits.
EDIT 19/07/2017: Get Who Gives A Crap toilet roll! It’s mostly made from recycled paper, donates 50% of its profits to hygiene and sanitation projects around the world, and is 3ply which I think is a good compromise. Plus if you send me your email we can do the ‘refer a friend’ thing where I ‘invite’ you to buy from Who Gives A Crap and if you use the link we both get £5 off our order 😃.
2) Don’t put your spices in a cupboard above a cooker or kettle (unless they’re in an airtight container) – they go hard and un-shakable because of the moisture and will go mouldy much quicker…I pretty much thought spices had an unlimited shelf life until I put them in that fated cupboard. 😩
3) Opt in for online bills with email reminders when you first move house/switch energy providers…you’d be amazed at how many trees they will send you through the letterbox just to say you have been successful in switching…and would you be interested in these other services of theirs?…and now here’s your first bill the day after even though you haven’t used the gas yet…oh that’s the previous tenant’s usage? Excuse us whilst we send you 10 more reminders to pay it even though you’ve explained to us multiple times via phone and email it’s not you who needs to pay it…EUGH.
4) Now put when you need to pay bills in your calendar…as a repeating event. I know it sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at how quickly the months come around and you could have sworn that you already paid the gas this month…didn’t you? 
5) If you really need to get up for something put your phone on the other side of the room, so when the alarm goes off you HAVE to get out of bed. No getting back in after though!
6) Night-shift on your phone is your friend for getting a good-uninterrupted-by-pointless-Facebook-chats-at-3am night’s sleep. Just remember to temporarily put the electrician in your ‘favourites’ the night before so your phone will actually ring when he calls to say he’s arrived…
7) There are many many ways to make pasta more interesting. Find some more recipes for your repertoire. 
8) Invest in good earplugs, or keep the pink & yellow swirled ones from gigs (most other throw-away ones are uncomfortable). Your boyfriend wants to stay up watching UFC in the living room next door? No problem. Your neighbours having noisy sex? No problem. Seagulls trying your sanity? No problem. And yes you will still hear your alarm. 👌
At this point I asked my partner what tips he had and after a long pause I got this gem…”Always check for double glazing”…thanks babe. To be fair this is actually a very good tip for if you’re looking for a flat in Brighton as 99% of these old town houses seem to be single glazed, so you can say goodbye to the feeling in your fingers and toes for 6 months of the year…unless you pounce on a double glazed flat when you can! 
N.B Whilst editing this post he came up with a second tip: invest in service washes at the Launderette whilst you can. I myself am a do-it-at-home-and-wait-3-days-for-it-to-dry kinda gal, so it is rather nice when he comes back with freshly washed and dried clothes from the Launderette…but it’s usually upward of £12 per load!
9) Expect to move around a lot, especially in Brighton. It’s not uncommon to move every 6 months or less for the first couple of years whilst you’re getting your bearings – disguised mould, hippies in a shared house who don’t pay bills, break-ups with partners, bastard landlords and disruptive neighbours are all common factors to contend with, it really is luck of the draw. I’ve moved a total of 9 times in 3 years!
10) Stay at home as long as possible before moving and save save save save save save. Even then you’re still likely to blow it all in the first year on deposits, rent, utilities and council tax. 
P.S Moving out is still a fun and necessary part of life and I don’t regret my experiences – I just wish my parents or someone had told me how stressful and sometimes overwhelming it actually is, so hopefully someone will read this and feel a little more prepared!

Just a quick observation here.

I’m currently standing in my kitchen, very hungry and feeling quite faint, but ‘unable’ to make myself some food…why? Because I’m stressed.

My (irrational) thought process: I’m stressed because I feel I should have started work by now. So cooking will only cause me to start even later. So I should just start work. But I’m too hungry to concentrate – I need food! There’s ‘nothing’ to snack on. There’s ‘nothing’ I fancy cooking. I am so hungry I’m unable to make a choice. Why am I doing this to myself. Why can’t I make a choice. This is bad for me, I feel sick and faint. 

I’m sharing this because I want to share how stress can affect many more parts of our lives than we might think. Don’t under-estimate it. The thoughts above may sound rediculous to you, but right now it’s quite a distressing ‘block’ that I’m having to deal with. 

I also know this is only temporary.

All experiences are only temporary.

Okay I’m going to have a piece of toast and take it from there…

Wellness Is A Practise

Recently I’ve been stressed.

About money, about organising my life, my work, fitting everything in without compromising on something. Too often it’s my health and wellbeing that is last on the list. And I’ve realised that sometimes you have to practise at caring for yourself, sometimes it doesn’t come naturally because you feel there are ‘bigger things’ to worry about…and yet good mental and physical health are the most important things to nurture in order to live a happy life!

Going freelance full-time has been amazing in so many ways, but the unfortunate reality is that it takes a bit of time to build a client base that can not only support you financially to cover your rent, bills and costs, but also allow you to live comfortably.

To give myself credit, I only need a few more clients and I’ll be in that ‘comfortable’ margin, but it’s easy to fall into old patterns of thinking:

“I don’t work hard enough.”

“I could do better.”

“I’m only holding things together by a thread.”

There’s also a bit of ‘Imposter Syndrome’ going on up there:

“They’ll find out that I’m not really very good.”

“Can I keep the pretence up that I’ve got it together.”

“How can I call myself a professional – I’m too young.”

These kind of thoughts can manifest in perfectionists and self-criticisers. As you constantly strive for those unattainable goals and that ‘perfect’ lifestyle, you miss or are blinded to your real achievements – your ability to live independently, your satisfied clients, your proud partner or parents, the respect and love from peers and friends.

So this morning I was lying in bed, phone in hand, scrolling my life away. Trying to distract myself from those thoughts and the sinking dread that I was slowly slipping back to an internal place I’ve been before and desperately never want to revisit.

I didn’t feel like doing yoga.

I wasn’t inspired to make a smoothie.

But I suddenly realised that I could still force myself to do these things, because they will still be good for me. Even if I’ve lost sight of why.

So I did.

And I loved it.

And I felt inspired.

I created some smoothie art (which I haven’t done in weeks).

I followed my own yoga practise to best suit my needs (instead of just following a video).

And then I felt inspired to share this all with you, because it’s often only when I tell others how I’m feeling, that I really acknowledge it myself (that’s also why I write songs!). And if one other person forces themselves to do something they know is good for their mental or physical health today, no matter how badly they don’t want to do it and feel it won’t make any difference, and find that actually it does…then this post was doubly worth it!

N.B. If you’re thinking ‘I don’t want to have to force myself, tell me how I can make myself want to do these things’…I’m afraid from my experience, the wanting comes later – after you’ve done something which makes you feel good enough times, eventually you override your ‘I can’t be bothered’ thoughts automatically, because you know you’ll enjoy it as soon as you start! My mum is a perfect example; I’ve heard her flop on the sofa after a long day and work and go “oh I’m completely knackered”…and then an hour later be putting on fancy dresses and heels to go off to dance the tango, which she does for fun most days of the week! When I ask her how she does it, she always replies – “Oh I know I’ll perk up as soon as I start dancing, I and I always feel better for it after”. She really is an inspiration!

So just take a deep breath when you’re feeling like you ‘can’t’ do something. Breathe in love, and breathe it back out to the world.

The more you love and are happy within yourself, the more love and happiness you are able to share with the world and those around you, the more love and happiness you will receive.

Circle of life.

Circle of love.

It starts with you.

Operation Update

The operation was a success! Phew!

The pins were taken out with no issues, and whilst last time I had a regional anaesthetic or ‘arm block’, which meant I was awake for the insertion of the screws (it is NOT fun hearing an electric drill and then feeling the vibrations in your shoulder, trust.) this time I had a general anaesthetic which was a D R E A M in comparison…that fact that I vomited for an hour after first eating doesn’t change my opinion of this.

There was only a short, sharp pain right at the beginning when they put the cannula into my hand to administer the anaesthetic (oh and before that the nurse slapping my hand a million times to find a vein wasn’t pleasant – ouch!).

Then it was the strangest thing – I remember the anaesthetist asking me how many pizzas I had on holiday last year…and then I woke up?

I didn’t even remember shutting my eyes or feeling myself falling asleep! I immediately said upon waking – “I didn’t even tell you how many pizzas I had!”, to which he said “No, but you did tell me you prefer vegan pizza”…

…don’t tell the people who make the “I just wanted to say I’m Vegan” memes.

Anyway, then it was all done! No pain, no hearing of drills, or feeling of vibrations, no creepy numb arm for hours after. The stitches are out tomorrow, and then it should only be another 4 weeks of being careful not to lift heavy things (and no contact sports – ’cause that’ll be a problem!) and then I’m back to normal! I am so happy this is finally sorted, I cannot WAIT for this chapter of my life to finally be closed and to have a strong, pain-free wrist again 😀

I’ll probably take a picture of the stitches and scar again as that always looks nice and grizzly, so another update soon!

Wishing you all good health and happy wrists especially!

Zoe x


I Am Now A Full-Time Freelancer!

I Am Now A Full-Time Freelancer!

Since I last posted I finished my part-time job at a shop and took the plunge to freelance full-time  (or Full-Lance as I like to say) in Social Media Management / copy writing / content creating / Squarespace web designing / marketing (on and off-line) and being a general DIGITAL MEDIA COOL GAL.

So far I have 3 wonderful clients that I’ve been working with since before I left the shop and 1 new client. I am earning enough to pay the bills, however this is where my next plunge comes – to broaden my roster!

I’m in my 3rd week of being full-time, but I need to push out of my comfort zone again and start approaching potential new clients. Which is hard, because I’ve just done a big scary thing of leaving my part-time job and I feel like I could do with at least another month before I do another big scary thing. But life is really just one big scary thing after another, and it’ll be worth it when I’m earning enough to do more than just pay the bills! And how about changing the word ‘scary’ to exciting?! That feels better already 🙂

Another thing I’ve quickly realised, is that continuing without a formal contract, especially now that I’m taking on new clients, is a big NO NO. I’m only just about getting by with the random working hours, clients being tardy on delivering content and being paid as and when, but if I’m going to add anyone else to the mix, it’s time to SORT IT OUT.

So my next endeavour is to write up a contract, or an ‘agreement’, detailing exactly what it is I do, when I do it, how many hours paid work they will receive (regardless of their input), when I expect to be paid and how often performance reviews and planning meetings should take place. This will hopefully protect my weekly earnings; at the moment my pay is determined on how organised my client has been that week on creating content (if they have asked to be solely responsible for content). It’s not nice when you’re suddenly told you won’t be earning money this week from them because they haven’t got round to doing what they said they would! If this happens after we sign the contract, I will still get paid for that week and will work on growing their following/improving their online image instead.

I’m excited to get going with it all so am trying to ignore the fact that I have a wrist operation to take out those pins put in after my bike accident in under a week! Luckily it’s my left wrist so I can still use my phone okay and type – just a bit slower, but not THAT slow as Runescape (GOD, remember Runescape?!) got me typing real fast with one hand whilst moving the mouse around with the other 😛

Any other freelancers out there making the full-time leap?!


P.S The picture is a lovely desk that isn’t mine but I blimmin wish it was! My desk is currently my sofa, and the real thing is awaiting shelves so the wood can see the light of day again.