Project 365 – part 4

The final chapter.

This is the part that feels most relevant to my life at the moment – that might be because the last photo was taken 6 days ago, so it’s not that surprising. But this final quarter starts at the beginning of December, and actually, it’s a pretty good quarter.

December through to February saw me do some more travelling (Warsaw, Jersey, Cannes, Manchester), spend super happy times with my family and best friend, throw some colour into my life, and learn some new stuff.

Festive December…

December saw a lot of pre-Christmas crafting, my nails snapped (need moar calcium?), I got a new iPhone, I had another trip back to my parents (see photos with my mama and my Lauren), I acquired a super sassy hat (blue glittery tophat!) and sated a work-Christmas-party hangover with a trip to Five Guys. Christmas was spent in Poland which was relaxing, with board games (including a Polish game about queueing in front of shops in the 1980s) and walks in the forest. New Year was spent with my best friend, eating a lot of Turkish food, playing with sparklers and having sekrit times.

New Year – January…

The New Year continued with time spent with my best friend – on the first of January we went on the London Eye, which I absolutely loved. We also visited Winter Wonderland (btw HOW BIG is the German Beer Hall there?! it’s amazing!). In contrast to last month, my nails were now screwed because of wearing false nails. C’est la vie! This month also saw me get my bangs cut back in, travel to Jersey for a beautiful few days for work, try a street dance class and do Fire Marshal training for work.

The final month – February…

February was the final month of my Project 365 – by now, it was completely ingrained in me to photograph something everyday. The month started with a weekend in Cannes for the Midem music hack weekend. Such a surreal weekend, I loved it. I also became a qualified First Aider (spent part of the afternoon flouncing around pretending the mannequin was my boyfriend.. I thought more people would do this, apparently not..). I travelled to Manchester to see Childish Gambino, ate the biggest pancake ever at My Old Dutch, received the most beautiful flowers for Valentines Day, went to a London Fashion Week event, visited Greenwich, bought a dress, and generally continued to love London.

Phew.

Once again, I have to say thank you so much to you guys for reading and revisiting my year in photos with me. Part of me looks back and thinks not much has changed, but a bigger part of me is amazed at how far I’ve come. I’ve loved looking back at the little details in my life, laughing at how silly things have been, seeing myself move on from sad times and throw myself into the good times.

I’m already 5 days into my next 365, and can’t wait to share that with you.

Making my own happiness

So, I should preface this by saying I’m quite a sensitive person – unless it’s constructive, I don’t handle criticism well; I don’t get along with angry people; I’m inherently a happy person and I think everyday happiness is a choice. You can either get on with things, be grateful for what you have and be happy.. or.. you can be miserable.

But even happy people get sad, and this just so happens to be one of those days for me. I struggle with people who are immediately challenging, or aggressive, or defensive, or argumentative; I try the old ~water off a ducks back thing, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.

A wise woman once asked me “what do you do to make your time worthwhile?” and after refuting my answer of getting drunk in the pub after work with work friends, I started thinking some more. After a few days, I realised I do have a whole heap of things I enjoy, that I do for my own happiness, and (gasp!) aren’t rude or saucy in any way. So let me present the tangible things I’ve done recently, that have made me happy…

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My friend Kate and I found a really cute job in Greenwich where you can paint your own pottery – this is the finished work (mine is the blue/green, Kate’s is the orange). Just an afternoon of playing with paint and making a mess was enough to make me smile.

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This is the beginnings of a Christmas present I made for my mama last year – see the finished article below. They’re crochet granny squares, hundreds of them, and it was honestly one of the most cathartic things I’ve done.

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These are the famous origami hearts I made – they looked so beautiful strung up. I made 400 of them in 1 weekend, and it was such a nice process – my hands make-make-making, whilst the rest of me watched films.

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This is the point where the original few hearts became 400 of them. I love the colours of them, together in a box.

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Of course, I take hundreds (thousands?) of photos – even photos of cameras make me happy. This is my latest baby, to replace my previous Olympus Pen that died a sad death recently. I love taking photos and looking back on them, months or years later. So much changes, and we miss it even happening.

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As well as origami hearts, I made these tissue paper pompom flowers for the party in Warsaw in July. Because they’ve got a lot of wiggle room and don’t need to be perfect, it was the best afternoon task – just snipping and tying and poofing out, no worries that they’ll look bad.

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Origami stars are another way I occupy my hands – I have no idea what to do with the hundreds of stars I’ve already made, but they look cute stored in my wine glasses, vases and bowls. Again, just keeping my hands busy, and coming out with something so sweet, really makes me happy.

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Pancaaaakes, and big long lazy brunches, are some of my favourite things. I rarely have time for proper breakfast, I just grab something and eat at my desk, but the process of cooking can be as fun as the actual eating. I’ve realise it’s about keeping busy and doing something with my time – and having something so nice at the end.

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Even “borrowing” a colleagues heart-shaped hole punch made me happy – I love playing with patterns and shapes, and this is such an utterly pointless piece of paper, but it’s cute, and it was fun to play with.

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At Easter, I went home to my parents and with the help of some Polish “egg dye”, we decorated eggs. A fun little afternoon of dipping and dying and painting is time well spent.

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I’ve been a knitter for years now, and as with the crochet, it feels almost soothing for the soul to knit – I can do other things at the same time (read, watch a film, chat to friends) and suddenly I look down and I’ve made something lovely. You definitely don’t get that with buying something in Primark, trust me.

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Calligraphy is a relatively recent hobby – in spring this year I invested in some inks and nibs, plus a pad of paper, and I just started going. Practicing the alphabet is a brilliant way to get stuck in, I found it really calmed me down, and the calmer I got, the smoother the letters – so, in a bid to improve, I made myself become even calmer and relaxed.

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I also like secretly decorating the light switches at work with cute little faces. Because, well, why not?

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Over Christmas/New Year, my mama started teaching me how to knit lace patterns, and I loved sitting with her, laughing at silly things and talking, and learning more techniques. I love this little swatch of work.

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And finally this – this is the crochet blanket I made for my mama for Christmas (this is before the loose ends were tucked in/tied/cut off!). The idea is that it goes from a mix of light blues/grays/greens, through to medium, and then dark navy and greys; when you shake it out I wanted it to look like waves (my parents went to the Amalfi Coast in Italy in October last year, I wanted it to remind them of that). A huge piece of work, which I was still finishing on Christmas Eve, but I’m still so in love with it.

So there you go – I do have things that make me feel worthwhile, and I do them myself, I don’t rely on anyone else. Because happiness really is a choice.