Harsh words, I know, but I've always been the kind of person who prefers honesty no matter how brutal it seems. Not just with friends and family but also with myself – because if you're not honest with yourself, then how can you expect anyone else to be? The other night I finally said the words out loud, the ones that have been playing on my mind for the past six weeks. "I don't blog anymore. I'm failing as a blogger. I'm the worst at blogging that I've ever been." It pained me to say it because I love blogging, I love writing and I always have. I still remember so clearly the first moment I set up this blog and the solace and happiness I have found in it ever since, the successes and struggles. This blog has been with me through so many of the biggest moments of my life from studying and relationships, to careers, travel and more. And so have all of you, the amazing people who read this blog and support me every step of the way. But as much as it pained me to admit it, I have another, even more shocking confession to make.
I can't apologise for taking a step back from blogging because I don't feel sorry that life got in the way. I'm not sorry that I decided to prioritise other things and that actually it was the best decision I could have made. Because sometimes we have to accept that we can't be everything. We can't be superwoman. We can't all be amazing in our careers, our relationships, learn a new language and run a blog and keep a clean house. Eventually something has to give and it's always better we make that decision ourselves rather than have it forced upon us later on. As you guys know, I went on a 3-week road trip around Europe and on my return I started my new job alongside taking on various other roles. It soon became clear that I needed to sacrifice something in order to be able to give 110% in all my other roles.
It would have been easy for me to feel like I was failing as a blogger, failing at life. That not being able to do all the things meant I wasn't as dedicated as I should be – but that wasn't the case. I was just reprioritising which is one of the most valuable things you can do if you care about the quality of your work. It was much more important to me to deliver high quality work in my job, to give my friends my undivided attention, and to really genuinely enjoy my trip without guilt. My blog has always been about having a life and making the most of every second – well, sometimes to do that you have to know when to hold back.
It's easy to forget how much you have already achieved, but 9 months into the year is always a great time to think back. Instead of looking at how I'm failing as a blogger, I should remember that my big goals for this year were to focus on pushing forward in my career. Well, now it's September and I can say how proud I am of myself for such a huge year. 2018 was the year I moved to Germany without speaking the language but still managed to land a job as a content manager working in SEO without any formal training. It was the year I had a home of my own for the first time in nearly 5 years. It was the year I travelled around Europe in a van and scored some of my biggest blogging collaborations yet. And alongside this I managed to make some amazing new friends in a brand new city. To say it's been a pretty amazing year would be an understatement and failing as a blogger is such a small thing in the wake of such success. Sacrificing this blog for a short time has brought so much happiness into my life and I can't apologise for that.
But the great thing about failing as a blogger and getting out there and grabbing life by the you-know-whats is that I've got some pretty great stories and blog posts just waiting to be shared with you all. So I'm back, tap-tap-tapping away at my keyboard and excited to be back sharing my life with you all. So let's start with last weekend when I had the best Sunday soaking up the last of the summer sunshine over a few cheeky cocktails and a Japanese feast. Sporting my fab new sunglasses gifted by Toyshades, a unique London brand who create both classic vintage eyewear styles and contemporary designs. I'm wearing the Rudge 2018 - Matte Tortoise Frame with Rose Amber Pentoptic Lens (£38) which I absolutely love and will be wearing until the very last rays of sunshine have disappeared this winter. After such an amazing summer, I'm really clinging on to those last remaining sunny days and how better to spend them than eating and drinking with your favourite person? We started at beach bar StrandPauli for drinks – one of my fave bars overlooking the river – then headed to Momo Ramen in Sternschanze for the most amazing meal of ramen, sake and gyozo.
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A final note on this post – a reminder that failure isn't always a bad thing. It's okay to be failing as a blogger, at your job, as a friend, as a girlfriend or even as a daughter sometimes. Because you're not super-human – I know I'm definitely not! It's time we stopped expecting everyone to give 110% in every aspect of their life all at the same time. It's okay to say no, it's okay to cut back and it's okay to fail. What's important is what you learn from it – how you grow and change. I'm placing less expectations on myself, I will always work my ass off but I'm going to stop taking on so much and feeling guilty when I have to say no. The rest of 2018 is about finding balance that works for me.
What have been your big successes this year? How have you failed – and what have you learned from it? How do you find balance in your life?
As a travel blogger, I've spent a heck of a lot of time out of the country since I started blogging which is fantastic but can be a bit lonely when it comes to having real life blogger pals. The internet is a saviour in this case and means I'm found some pretty amazing friends from every niche, but it's always nice to actually meet in person. I actually first started my blog after being inspired by some pretty incredible bloggers who had turned a hobby into a full time job when I attended a bloggers party as a journalist. I was encouraged to start a blog of my own and thus Absolutely Lucy was born, three years later and I was invited to the Blogosphere Magazine summer party - an incredible event organised by the only industry magazine currently running.Appealing to all of our good taste as bloggers, the team at Blogosphere organized an amazing event full of tea, cake and some beautiful jewellery, plus plenty of opportunity to meet some pretty inspiring ladies and have a lot of laughs. It was so lovely to spend time with bloggers who have also followed their passion to write about travel, food, beauty, fashion, parenting and all kinds of cheeky topics. To be surrounded by vibrant, real, exciting women who have something to say for themselves and understand the commitment we have all made, the time we spend curating something beautiful for the internet. It's easy for people to brush over the time and effort that is put into blogging, so it's lovely when you meet others who do what you do and understand the pressures we put ourselves under for the love of blogging.
For the two hour train to London in 26 degree heat, an event has to be pretty good and this one was great - serious props to Albertine Brandon for organising such a beautiful event. We chatted away the afternoon with delicious teas from The London Tea Company and some incredible gluten-free cakes from Pearl and Groove - the raspberry and white chocolate was to die for! It was great to finally meet Albertine, Elaine and editor-in-chief Alice Audley after so long admiring their work, I'm looking forward to more events in future. And I found some great new blogger friends in Oh It's Sare, Han Meets World, Taylor Mae Makeup, Honestly Aine and many more. Plus it was good to meet the girls behind brands including World Duty Free, The London Tea Company and Jewellery Box. A day spent talking everything from travel and Pokemon to vlogging and photography is never a day wasted in my book.It was a pretty busy weekend, even before I had set off to London for the Blogosphere party I had spent a full day reliving my travels at the Cambridge Thai Festival - a day full of Muay Thai, ladyboy shows, traditional dance performances and some delicious food. I went along with one of my blogging friends, Vikki of FrickingVikki, and had a fantastic day in the sunshine. Luckily we managed to skip all the queues to get in, for food and drinks, as we saw some people waiting for quite a while to get tickets, but for £3 entry, the whole event was a total bargain. A full programme of entertainment for two days over the weekend had something for everyone and certainly kept us entertained on Saturday afternoon. Browsing the stalls, there was also a beautiful Buddhist stand where you could meet the monks and chat to some lovely ladies about blessings. Further round we even found a cheeky photobooth where you could get dressed up and take pics in Thai traditional dress - this was a lot of fun! It was a great event and if you get the chance to attend one in future, I'd take it with both hands. It's always worth checking out what amazing free/cheap local events are taking place right under your nose - next weekend I'll be checking out a free day of folk music in my home town! Here's some pics from the day.
Did you go to the Blogosphere Summer Party - what was your highlight? Have you found some great, free local events?
Whether you're writing it just for yourself, for your family and closest friends, or an audience of thousands every month - writing a travel blog can provide you with a home for all your previous memories, photos and experiences. All those amazing moments you had while travelling through the jungles, mountains, cities and deserts spread across the globe are combined into one amazing story, with you as the main character. So many travellers I meet carry with them a travel journal, as do I, which is a lovely way to keep note of thoughts and moments along the way, but in today's modern age, a blog is an even easier way to combine all your photos, words and videos into a multimedia collage of your time on the road. For those who haven't been following Absolutely Lucy for as long, I actually started this blog as a lifestyle blog around a year before deciding to come travelling, I then developed it into a travel blog as well so I could capture every moment and share it with my readers along the way.
Travel blogging along my journey has been one of the best things about travelling - not only because I get to share it with you guys, but simply because I love to write and doing this has given me a reason to. I love that I can look back over my time in Asia and Australia, and find all my pics, videos and stories in one place, I love that I can share it with friends who were there at the time and others who would have loved to be. Even better, my stories and experiences have given me the opportunity to reach out and help advise or inspire others to face their fears and to go out and do the same. I've heard from so many fellow travellers who have read my blog and been inspired to start their own, or who wanted advice on how to go about doing it, and it's great to be a part of. So many say to me they wish they could write, that they are jealous of those who can, but that should never stand in your way when it comes to blogging. In blogging you don't have to write a certain way, it's all about your unique voice and how you express yourself. If that comes in the form of a picture diary, or homemade videos then who cares?
10 reasons to keep a blog while you travel:
Why did you start a travel blog? If you haven't already - would you?
I don't talk about my relationship often. My friends always say they know something is really wrong if I actually talk about what is going on, because the rest of the time I like to keep my cards close to my chest. Don't get me wrong, I've no problem with talking about the good stuff as well, I just like to keep my relationship private. I've always thought that what goes on between a couple should stay between the couple - I know that isn't always the case, but for the most part I believe it should stay that way. Just like I don't tell all my other friends about all the stupid stuff me and my best friends get up to and all the rubbish we talk about, I don't see the need to tell everyone about the moments that mean the world to my boyfriend and I - because quite honestly, who cares other than me and him? After well over eight years together, we have no need to tweet how much we love each other, we don't need to publicise every romantic moment on Facebook, and I certainly don't need to blog about every argument I win.
I realised not long ago that we're not actually even listed as "in a relationship" on Facebook and I'm not even sure how long it has been that way... Pretty funny that I still get complete strangers coming up to me sometimes asking if I'm Wolfy's girlfriend! But it made me realise that no matter how Facebook official things are, it isn't proof of a good relationship, nor are soppy tweets or sickly sweet Instagram pictures. For me, the proof comes in radio silence. The happiest couples I know are the ones who barely communicate on social media because they're too busy talking face-to-face. The ones who you could almost miss are a couple until something big happens like an engagement, a new home or a baby. They are the ones whose love transcends the world of social media, which is basically just communication on performance-enhancers, and they are the ones who happily go under the radar. Amusingly, all those pictures and quotes that are posted about what women want, holding out for a hero and all that tosh, are usually the things posted by the ones who wish they were in relationships like the ones splashed across our newsfeeds and rammed down our throats at every opportunity.Of course it is wonderful and great to be in love, to have someone who cares about you and wants to make you happy. But does that mean you have to status update every meal at Nando's, every date at the cinema, and every lazy Sunday spent in bed together? If you ask me - that's too much OPDA for my liking (Online Personal Displays of Affection) and you need to step away from your phone. If you're spending more time checking in on Facebook and tweeting about your date than talking to them, or if you're thinking about the Instagram photos you'll post later while he's talking about how much he loves his dog - you need to sort out your priorities. I'm not saying keep everything off social media, it is a place for sharing of course, but when your relationship updates are the only thing you post, or people start commenting on how much you're flooding their newsfeed - perhaps it's time to take a step back.
10 signs your relationship needs to go offline:
Now I have to be honest, being a blogger I spend a lot of time on social media and there have been times when my boyfriend has had to tell me to put my phone down. But I love that he does that. He is the complete opposite of me, he never posts on Facebook or Twitter, I think he's forgotten he has Instagram, and that is so refreshing for someone who spends a lot of time blogging or sharing online. So it is nice when we go on dates, or have an evening together, that he makes me put my phone down and stop talking to the rest of the world so we can spend time just the two of us. Because that's what a relationship is - just the two of you. And when it comes to those lasting memories - nobody remembers the time they tweeted about a date, but they do remember the way you made them feel and the laughs you shared. Priorities - that's what it comes down to and, if you ask me, if social media comes first, you need to question whether you're really meant to be together. So next time you head out for date night, try leaving your phone in your bag. Stop snapping every moment for Instagram and start appreciating the time you have together - you never know when it could run out.
Are you guilty of having an online relationship - how do you strike the balance? Do you have too many OPDAs crowding your newsfeed?
PS. I'd love it if you would vote for me in the UK Blog Awards by following this link!