I’ve tried to sit down and write this post on several occasions. The first, I had quite literally just moved in and was so full of excitable energy that I wanted to spill it all onto paper/into a Word document (but instead I think I had one too many celebratory wines and fell asleep – not on my own, don’t worry). The second was what felt like rock bottom – the day that I had my car clamped (while I was sitting in it on the side of the road, no less), also the same day that all my social media accounts and business email was hacked – after a week of discovering one by one that pretty much every appliance in my apartment didn’t work. I had a small, somewhat justified cry that day. It’s been a bloody rollercoaster to say the least.
But right now, I’ve just arrived “home” (1 of 3 places that I can call home, how lucky am I?) to my Dad’s, for 24 hours of cat cuddles, multiple glasses of wine and some much-needed family time. I feel so content that it almost doesn’t feel real. I was sad to leave my apartment earlier (I’ve become so attached to it) because it’s my first home, on my own. And it’s so small and in places, appears to be falling apart, but it’s mine. And I love it so much and it makes me so happy that I almost feel like I’m on holiday, as if this happy bubble will soon end and I’ll be forced to fly back to a past life, full of mixed emotions and with a confused sense of self. I just feel so god damn lucky, so god damn grateful and in a way – disbelieving – that I’ve really upped and moved to a city 300 miles away and that it feels like one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
EDIT/CONTINUED (I had every intention of writing this whole post at my Dad’s last week but then I was offered prosecco so I swapped my laptop for bubbles – a running theme? Not an alcoholic I promise): I am now on the train to London for a 36-hour whistle-stop trip. I’m shooting something special with Zoe, squeezing in a few meetings and then visiting the incredible Jack Howard at Paul Edmonds for the 3rd stage of my blonde balayage treatment. Then I’m getting back on a train to Leeds to go out out tomorrow night (something I am in fact doing quite a lot of lately – no complaints here). My throat is on fire, I’m full of sexy cold and phlegm and feeling the tiniest bit sorry for myself – but like hell am I gonna let that stop me from getting shit done.
But let’s talk about living alone. It’s not the same as being at uni when you can walk across the hall and knock on your friend’s door, it’s not the same as being home alone, having a quiet night in and then have someone walk through the door just as you’re dropping off to sleep. You are in fact ON YOUR OWN a lot of the time. And it’s not for everyone. I have always been perfectly comfortable in my own company, so much so that I actually need that time alone, I crave it. And though I’ve always had my own space, I now have my own place. It’s mine to do what I want with (maybe apart from burn it down because I might be in trouble with the landlord), it’s mine to be who I want to be and do what I feel like doing. If I don’t fancy washing up for a night or two, I just won’t. If I forget to take my dressing gown into the bathroom when I shower, I can in fact walk from room to room stark bollock naked (though there are other apartment blocks within close proximity that could very potentially make out my naked silhouette). Liberated doesn’t even come close.
But something that has felt more powerful than anything is the total independence. It doesn’t matter what time I go to bed, what time I get up, when I go out or what time I return home. Because all I have to worry about is myself. And though that sounds selfish beyond explanation, I have never only had to worry about myself in my whole life. This is new to me. And it truly feels, for however long this lasts, like a gift. A gift that allows me to look after myself, figure out how to live my best life and be the happiest I can be. And I really am so happy right now, I finally feel as though I have balance in my life that’s never been there before. My productivity has naturally ebbed and flowed as I’ve settled in, I’ve had panicked days of oh-my-god-I-can’t-meet-this-deadline-because-I-haven’t-got-a-photographer-or-working-wifi but at the end of day, it’s all down to me to make it work, to put those things right and to ride the waves so that I end up on the shore standing tall, in one piece. It’s a huge feeling of overwhelming responsibility, to keep yourself on track without anyone else to care for you. And yet it’s one I wholeheartedly cherish. And every day I am excited and grateful that I have that responsibility.
But of course I’ve had help too. I’m proud to say that my support network today is stronger than it’s ever been. Friends and family, old and new, rallied round to help me with this move and there are no words to describe how grateful I am to each and every one of them. I received cards and had things said to me that I won’t forget for as long as I live, expressions of love but more importantly pride – because don’t we all want our loved ones to be proud of us? I’ve hated myself for it in the past but I yearn for it, even when I know with some it’s harder to earn. It’s different from praise - that I don’t need, sometimes struggle to accept or agree with. But when someone I care about is proud, whether loudly or expressed in a simple sentence or gesture, it’s a feeling that I wish would last forever.
So in short, I just feel really bloody grateful; for the special people at the end of the phone when I want to talk about everything and nothing, for the special people a short drive or train ride away, when I need a change of scenery/some TLC/a night to remember (or all three) and for the special people that live a 4-minute walk from my front door, to share a bottle of wine and watch Bake Off with or just to lie on the sofa and have the company of a few treasured humans. They know who they are – and I’m sure they know too that I wouldn’t be as settled and happy as I am today without them.
Okay, ENOUGH OF THE GUSH (though I very much needed to get all of that off my chest so if you’re still reading, well done and thank you).
I shot these images in my apartment with my lovely stepbrother, who – bless his soul – has been very willing to be my fill-in photographer/emergency contact when something goes wrong/host at any time of the day or night. It’s strange because I had so many interior posts planned before the move and yet now I’m in my own space, I feel oddly protective and very private about it. Rest assured no one that I don’t trust/care about has set foot in my apartment and even sharing images of it feels like I’m inviting a load of strangers into my home. I know, I’m weird. But I am a private person, despite the fact that my occupation might suggest otherwise.
I’m so excited to have worked with Desenio on this post, as I’ve admired their Pinterest-worthy prints and frames on Instagram for quite some time. They’ve got everything from inspirational quotes and landscape photography to portraits of models and celebrities to simple, understated artwork. And at extremely reasonable prices too (very important when you’ve just moved and money seems to be flying out left, right and centre). I’ve actually got 2 concrete feature walls in my apartment (sounds bizarre but trust me, they look great), both of which feature in this post. And as grey is my favourite colour, I naturally incorporated it into my colour scheme. So as you can probably tell from the images, I chose grey, pink (baby, of course), white, rose gold, cream and a smattering or two of black on a few of the frames and the New York skyline print which I adore. Perhaps a little cliché but it’s my favourite city in the world so that print very proudly hangs above my bed – and will do for the foreseeable future.
In my living room, I wanted a mix of prints that made me feel calm and inspired. I think the dappled sunlight through the palm leaves is beautiful, just looking at it allows me to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. And the pink feather print makes me feel so calm and wistful. But my favourite print is probably in my bathroom, the “Nice Butt” print. It’s fun, light-hearted and provides the perfect bit of motivation when I go for my morning wee.
In order of appearance:
It really is amazing how much of a difference these prints have made to making a new home my home. Although I have a very long 'To Buy' list comprising of house plants, more throws and cushions (you really can never have too many), I’m also saving my pennies to pay for my gross impending phone bill next month – the result of not having wifi for 3 weeks and hotspot-ing one too many times. Bit by bit, it’ll all come together. But thanks to Desenio, my gorgeous little apartment felt very much like a home from the moment I put up these prints and frames.
And – EXCLUSIVE – you can get 25% off posters (not valid on “handpicked” posters and frames) with the code BETH25 between 10-12th October. You’ve got 48 hours … what are you waiting for?!
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Desenio.