How happy are you right now on a scale of 1-10? There are SO many reasons why we don’t always feel on the upper end of that scale- work, family, friends, relationships, failure, loss, loneliness. So many.

 

I was going to wait to write this post in a couple of months’ time. But the more I think about it and the more the scribbles in my notebook mount up I realised that actually the timing is great because I need to write this and take it all on board myself.

Over the last few weeks and months a few people have mentioned to me that I seem a bit distant and that I sound a bit sad, I was also asked why I was so MIA on Instagram, which I think is a bit weird.

There’s so many discussions about how our lives aren’t honestly represented on social media and I think this is true, up to a point. Only YOU choose to share what you put out there. I’m also a firm believer that if you’re feeling a certain way, or not feeling a certain way, why lie about it? You should be able to communicate what’s going on inside, and as a photographer and a creative I think this is what I do. A lot has changed recently, not just in terms of where I live and work but also in my personal life too. It’s not always easy to post smiling photos when you actually feel like crap, so why do it?

You should be able to reflect how you think and feel in your own way and you have the right to do so. Equally no one wants to see some form of Britney Spears-style break down all over their feed, and you should have more self-respect than to do this. There’s already too much pseudo-profound bullshit out there without sharing some meaningless quote pasted over an image of rainbow.  I think it’s funny how people judge you on social media. Maybe my tone has just changed recently, but whatever it is I’ve definitely had a few comments, which kinda got me thinking.

It appears I’m going through some weird transitional phase in my life. In September I moved to London. Away from my friends, family, horse, and the little comfortable life I’d got going on. To say it’s been odd is an understatement.I’m trapped in some kind of limbo right now and if I’m honest I’m not really sure what the hell I’m doing and I’m struggling with how to deal with it.I think when you’re in your thirties you feel like you should have your shit together, and I sort of thought I had. If you haven’t it’s a horrible feeling. Mentally I went from feeling like I knew where I was heading to suddenly BOOM everything changed.  Change can be a good thing. It was welcomed, and needed. I think unfortunately along the line I just lost my way.

 

 

I’ve been taking photos and making loads of notes of things ever since I moved here.  When I started to write this post I’d found a photo on my phone. It was taken not long after I’d moved to London. I was at such a low point. I think everything had hit me all at once. I was miserable, had no home (that’s another story and too boring and complicated for words), I felt lonely, isolated and just didn’t feel like me. Anyway, I was sitting in a car letting the tears roll and decided that I never wanted to feel like this again. I took the photo and it’s just awful. It’s so sad and I’ll never show it to anyone, why would I? It’s not an attention thing but I kept it for me and for what it means. It was like a landmark. I’d spent weeks trying to blame everything around me- work, circumstances, and people, for how I felt and I got to this point and thought fuck it. I don’t want to feel like this. No one should. But we all will and we all do at times.  It’s crazy how in this city of sirens, surrounded by almost 9 million people, I’d never felt more alone.

 

I’ve seen first hand people get into a REALLY bad place mentally and I never want to get like that. Feeling low is such a downward spiral and it’s so easy to just keep falling.  I was talking to one of my best friends recently. I said I shouldn’t complain- on paper my life is GOOD. I have a decent job, I live in nice flat in a gorgeous area, I have a boyfriend, lovely friends, etc etc blah blah blah. She said that was rubbish. Yes there’s some awful shit going on in the world but that doesn’t mean you lose the right feel down when you’re struggling. Everything is relative.  It’s so hard to feel happy and grateful when you just feel plain crap. Sometimes it IS insignificant and you have to metaphorically slap yourself around the face and remind yourself of this.

That’s why I took the photo. Basically to remind myself to get a bloody grip. Don’t get me wrong- I’ve not had any big revelations yet and there certainly wont be any ‘Transformation Tuesday’ posts from me, but I did make a vow then to do all I could to stop feeling like that. Which is why I started writing this.

I love writing. It’s so therapeutic. I always kept a journal when I was younger and now I always make notes- I have a bazillion voice notes, scribbles and photos all over the shop. If I can help myself feel better, maybe I can share this with other people too. Including the person in my life who needs it more than me.  I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life. I have a great support network and it’s important to not lose sight of this.  Any change is tough and adapting to change can be hard. Especially if you go somewhere expecting it to be a certain way and it’s not (FYI London is mental).  But these are the things I’m doing to get back on track, and I hope they help you too.

 

 

BE GRATEFUL

Firstly the best way to just happier in general is to remember all the good stuff you have and just be grateful for everything. I’ve listened to loads of podcasts and Tedtalks recently and one that really resonated with me was a talk by Brother David Steindl-Rast (which you can watch here)

Appreciating what you have goes a long way in putting a smile on your face.

 

GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA

I read somewhere that Instagram makes you feels bad about yourself and Twitter makes you feel bad about the world. This is so true. If you’re not feeling great social media is the WORST. I know people who are OBSESSED with it. Like addicted obsessed. If I’m honest the ‘Explore’ section on my Insta feed makes me want to vom sometimes. Also what the hell do I look at for these ‘videos you may like’ to be suggested!??

It’s impossible to have a realistic perception of anyone’s life through Instagram and we’ve all fallen down the rabbit hole of looking at stuff we shouldn’t or things that’ll make us feel crap. Block that shizzle and follow accounts of things you’re interested in instead. Get inspired rather than sad.

Step away and rather than looking at it just live it. I went on holiday recently and didn’t post a thing (apart from a horse photo obvs). It’s pretty liberating to not stare at that illuminated brick all the time.

 

 

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

This is hard one for me at the moment. I’ve given up a hobby I’ve been doing since I was 7 now I’m in London. I still have my horse but he’s retired now and he’s not up the road anymore. Yes there are stables in London, but it’s not as easy when you live miles away from them. Plus I don’t just want to be plodding around a school, when really I want to be galloping across a field! When you have a hobby you’re part of a community, its like family. I miss that so much. As I’ve not had an actual home since the end of July any kind of permanent gym membership has gone out of the window too, which is killer as I used to be there four mornings a week.

My point is whatever your situation, get a hobby! Do what makes you happy- gigs, films, theatre, whatever. Just get out and do it- even if it’s on your own. It’s another way to meet new people. I’m fortunate in that London has a bazillion classes. If I want to learn to be a fire-breathing pole dancer I can…

 

 

TRAVEL

It’s so good for your soul. Even if it’s not abroad book a train ticket, go and visit that person you’ve been banging on about for ages, or just jump in your car and drive somewhere different. There’s so much to see out there and travelling to new places is an instant mood-lifter.

 

 

EXERCISE

You can’t escape the fact exercise makes you feel good about yourself. You don’t need to join a gym or be an athlete. Dance, run, walk. Whatever. I used to always do this before work and it genuinely set me up for the day. I never had the energy after work and I get home so late now. Get up and get it done. You’ll never regret a work out. The feeling during a run can be torture. The feeling AFTER a run is glorious.

 

ONE FOR THE GIRLS

This is something I’m looking into at the moment- if you use the pill, implant, patch etc then do you actually know what you’re putting into your body? I changed mine a while ago and I swear the week before a period I have two days where I just want to hide from the world and cry into my Soreen. I swear when I wasn’t taking it I was happier, and possibly slimmer, but my mood was definitely different. Maybe this was relationship related but if you’re feeling low and stuffing yourself full of hormones this surely can’t be good. Make a note of how you feel and when. Then have a think about the alternative. My gorgeous BFF did a video on this, which you can check out here (TalkBeckyTalk).

 

IT’S DOWN TO YOU

Don’t rely on other people to make you happy. Find your own happy. The cliches are cliches because they are true- you’ll never be happy with someone else if you can’t be happy on your own. I’m definitely guilty of looking to other people for this. I moved to London to be with someone I love, but I’d hate for one second for them to feel responsible for my happiness. We were talking about this the other day how we both had a weird feeling when I found out I’d got a job here. If you’re making changes think really hard about them and why you’re doing it. Listen to your gut instinct.

Last year when I returned from Australia I genuinely thought my next move would be abroad, it’s a weird old life but it’s also short so make the most of it.

Steer clear of thinking ‘things will be better when X happens…’ they WONT nothing will change. It’s still your mind set just different circumstances, so do something about it.

Don’t always be looking forwards for something else to happen in order to act- have things to look forwards TO, but don’t be waiting for shit to happen. It won’t unless you make a change.

We all need friends and loved ones for support but at the end it’s down to you.

 

 

GET COSY

Whether you own your on place or you’re at uni make your space a little cosy haven you’ll enjoy being in. There’s no place like home after all, so you want it to be a happy one. Fill it with photos of anything that makes you happy, keep it tidy and clutter free and just make a space you’ll be happy to come back to every day. I can’t wait to have a more permanent residence, living out of suitcases and boxes for four months sucks. I’m so fortunate to live in such a lovely place now but it’s not my belongings that surround me and I have no control over what I can bring here. Roll on the move in November!

 

 

READ

This is quite new to me but something I now absolutely adore. Total and utter escapism, expanding mind and imagination. It took me four years to finish Eat, Prey, Love. In comparrison I’ve just read four books in three months. Not only does it make a smelly commute beneath an armpit more bearable but it keeps me away from emails and ALL the social media. If you can’t be arsed to read listen to a good podcast or audio book. Any recommendations send them my way!

 

MUSIC

Make a banging playlist. I had an amazing nostalgic drive home the other week singing my heart out (alone luckily) to all the tunes I used to love. Music is medicine for sure.

 

 

WRITE IT

I recently bought a little notepad and started writing down all the things that make me happy, even basic things. The stuff I love, things that I want to do, shoots I want to try etc.  In a nutshell anything that made me happy. Making notes and actually planning things inspires me to do them more. Getting things out of my head and onto paper feels awesome. I’ve written out shoot ideas and projects to work on. If you have a blog or just love photography get a load of people together and go and shoot some stuff. I miss my crazy Wolfpack in Nottingham and Leicester, we’d just set up random shoots and get cracking. It’s a lot easier to shoot when you have someone with you, so grab a pal and try something different. Get some smoke grenades, go somewhere random, or set up some random props. I’m definitely the Instagram husband in my relationship. My camera roll speaks volumes about my life at the moment, it’s just pictures of my boyfriend on his own and stupid memes!  Writing and photography has always been a passion project for me, and that’s the kind of shizzle that makes me happy. If you’ve got all your ideas on paper you’ll always have stuff to work on when you have the time.

 

 

I’ve written this post mainly for me, as a little reminder of what I need to do. Hopefully it’ll help other people too. Sometimes, even when you think you’ve got your shit together you’ll realise you haven’t, but that’s the joy of life- who knows what’s going to happen. Everything is an opportunity and we all have to make the best of what we have. Work out what’s making you sad and change it. This doesn’t really work if you’re grieving but you can still find so many ways to find a smile. Hitting a rock-bottom sadness makes it all the sweeter when you realise how far you’ve come when you reach the other side.

 

I started this blog a few years back when I was trying to heal my Eczema. I wanted to share my experiences- what I ate, what I used instead of steroid treatments, and also any products I could find that were suitable for all the sensitive shells out there. When I took the images for my blog I realised that as this was my only focus it meant I couldn’t share all the other things I do and the images I take.

I also promised myself that the moment this blog started to become too much of a headache and less of an enjoyment I’d take a step back.  So much has been going on this year- new job, new city, new man… well he’s not really new anymore but the point being so much has been going on I just kinda let this fall by the wayside.

I also realised that the things I want to share and write about didn’t necessarily fit with my blog’s original intention, so I’ve decided to change it a little. I love writing on here and I love creating images and sharing what I’m doing, but I want to be able to post about EVERYTHING. If I find a miracle product for sensitive skin I wanna share it, equally I want to be able to post about the shoots that I do and all the other things that scuttle out from my imagination.  I want to write about the things I care about and share my creative projects too.

No doubt my blog will go through many incarnations, just as I do as a human, but it will always remain a consuming hobby for it’s adapting author.  In the words of Dr Seuss*:  ‘It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become…’

Jem xx

 

*From ‘The Lorax’, and if you haven’t seen this then shame on you!

 

© 2017 Jemmacox.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CONTENT MAY NOT BE USED WITHOUT PERMISSION.

heart

2016.  What a messed up year.  We lost so many greats- Bowie, Wood, even Wogan.  It was also the year of Brexit and all that came with that, oh and of course not to mention Trump.

On a personal level 2016 was the year of heartbreak, frustration, and incredibly poor timing. Even Brad and Angelina didn’t make it…

The year started out happy, promising and with a man I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with.  Somehow along the way that all turned to shit and I went from practically killing myself on a horse to one of the worst years as a family since Mum died.

I remember last year writing a post about how I wasn’t going to make any new year’s resolutions and I’m kinda glad I did- failing at impossible goals was the last thing I needed in 2016.  Let’s face it- we all promise ourselves in December that next year will be ‘our year’, we’ll climb a mountain, or live entirely off green vegetables.  Nothing like the cold reality of disappointment when you realise it’s not your year, you can’t even climb the stairs without tripping up, and McDonalds know you so well they offer your ‘usual’ as soon as you walk in…

Of course we all go into a new year with the best intentions but if I’m totally honest 2016 for me, and many of my chums, was a pretty turbulent year filled with inopportune events. This included my horrendous riding accident in February, the day before I was going on a course I’d been waiting AGES to get a place on, work frustrations and just generally terribly poor timing on a number of things.  I even found an amazing personal trainer and after only a few sessions she told me she’s off to a new job.  Sucks.  To be fair we’ll stay mates but she’s a bloody beast in the gym and I’m going to miss her and that peachy butt sooo much!

This year I think the only resolution I want to make (and it’s not really a resolution) is to continue exercising as much as I can.  Exercise is an escape. It provides time to get lost in your thoughts, or just lose your thoughts to pushing yourself, and you feel so good afterwards it’s a no brainer for me.   I think to be honest this is more a continuation of a lifestyle than a resolution and if you look at something like that it’s not something you’ll easily break.

Processed with VSCO with s5 preset

Gemma to the power of two = double trouble…

Anyone that knows me knows that I like to be in another country for New Year’s Eve, and this year is no exception.  I’m dashing off for Christmas too this time- today I’m flying to Australia for almost four weeks armed with a year’s supply of freelance savings, a couple of new bikinis and my oldest friend in the world.

I’ve known Gemma since she was born (just under a year after me) and her Mum was BFF’s with mine. We grew up together and had the cutest childhood.  I think one of the reasons we’re such close friends is we’ve got that much dirt on each other it would be lethal not to stay that way!  This girl has been through SO much this year and come out stronger and happier than ever and I’m so proud of her and everything she does.  I am privileged to have so many good friends in my life- they are, after all, the family we choose.  She’s more of a sister to me, and what this girl doesn’t know about me isn’t worth knowing.  This year we’ve got each other through what we now refer to as  ‘Black Sunday’, ‘dark August’ and all the other utter rubbish times this year- from not being able to walk, to ALL the boy dramas, and from work issues to family chaos.

You know when you have that friend that you don’t even need to say anything to and you know exactly what the other person is thinking.  This is Gemma.  We just get each other.

 

Heartbreak was everywhere this year.  Couples that I literally thought would be together for the long haul seemed to fall apart left, right and centre.  I started the year with a man I genuinely thought I’d be with until I was grey and seriously wrinkly; it’s crazy how so much can change.  Not just within a year but within a matter of hours!  Maybe my Disney- fuelled childhood provided me with unrealistic expectations of love and romance, and a fairy tale ending is purely that- fictional.  Gin and Prosecco profits will definitely be on the rise thanks to me and my pals…

To anyone I hurt or upset in 2016 I am truly sorry.  To anyone who hurt me- I hope you are too.  What a fucking roller coaster.

It’s not just been a year of heartbreak in terms of relationships but also in terms of my family situation too.  It’s so bloody fragile and it rips me to pieces on a daily basis.  I think when things are good in a family you take it for granted.  I would do anything to have my normal family life back but right now that seems like a distant dream, maybe an impossible reality.  I literally cannot wait to get away from it all and discover new places I’ve never been and run straight into the sea.  It’s a big world out there- adventure is waiting…

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

    ‘All I’m after is a lifetime of laughter’  

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year it’s that you have to surround yourself with people that lift you up.  Equally you have to lift your friends up too.  I’ve been pretty slack with a couple of friends this year and that’s something that definitely needs to change.  It’s ok to expect your friends to be there when you’re down but I also need them to know they can rely on me too.  It’s so important.

In a year when hate and anger won votes and elections it’s easy to focus on the negative but there’s actually a whole heap of things to be positive about and I have so much to be grateful for!

I just want to smile my way through 2017. Laughing is my favourite things in the world and if you are surrounded by people that can make you laugh so hard it hurts, well then life is just SO much more enjoyable.

img_1581

My beautiful BFF Becky and I at the festival of dreams…

So here’s to 2017- let’s hope it’s better for all involved! You never know who you’ll meet on that spur-of-the-moment night out, or what’s waiting for you just around the corner, and don’t forget- Prince Charming comes in many different guises…Exciting times indeed!

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog, supported me and helped in any little way.  I love you all and I wish you all a Merry messy Christmas and a Bonza New Year!  I’ll see you on the other side.  Now where’s my passport…

 

Jem xx

 

img_1591

Having a blog can be really fun at Christmas- all the gift guides, new products, festive posts and excitingly this year the East Midlands Bloggers Christmas Calendar Swap.

If you live in the East Midlands and you blog/create/write then you really should be a part of East Midlands Bloggers.  You can join in on Facebook here.

This year I took part in Jay and Jess’s Christmas Calendar Swap where you’re paired with another blogger from your region and create an advent box to send them full of little gifts to open in December.   It’s such a fun idea- the box had to include 25 presents with everything costing between £15-£30 in total and everything had to fit inside a shoe box.

img_1577

 

I was paired up with the lovely Kirsty from Derby.  You can check out her lifestyle, beauty and books blog here.

img_1576

At first I thought it would be easy but it’s actually quite a challenge to find 25 different gifts.  I read up on Kirsty’s blog to find out a bit more about her and then cracked on with the fun part- shopping.  I have a feeling we’ve probably bought each other similar things, as we’re both very much into our products and cute things! It was good fun hunting around lots of different shops to find enough items for the box, and I wanted to make sure there was plenty of variety in there too.  From a colouring book to beauty products, chocolate treats to stationary.   The swap is also a great way to get to know another bloggers in your area and it’s always nice to discover new blogs and posts to read.  Everyone in the East Midlands Group is super supportive and there’s always social events and topics of discussion on their Facebook page.  It’s a great way to meet other likeminded bloggers and connect with people with similar interests as you.

img_1578

I was so excited when mine arrived and it’s been fun every day having a little present to open.  I’m going on holiday next week so I might have to save the rest until I come back- surely it’s bad luck to open them all before I go.  Tempting though…

Can’t believe it’s only two weekends until Christmas!  Happy shopping…

Jem xx

IMG_5314

I’m just going to put this out there from the start.  I think this is my favourite festival out of any I’ve been to!  Now I bloody loved Glasto but if you’re after the bizarre, the beautiful, and four days of pure bohemian magic then this is the one.  How can you not fall in love with a festival where you can swim in a lake, rave in a forest and make a birdfeeder all on the same day?!

Wilderness not only boasts an entire spa and wellness sanctuary, a country estate set in 400 acres of private parkland, and more sequinned leotards than you’ll ever see at Gay Pride but the food is also some of the best you’ll ever find.  So when my gorgeous friend Becky (aka TalkBeckyTalk) asked me if I was free and fancied going I was literally packed and in the car before she could change her mind!

IMG_4991 (1)

Now if you’re music knowledge is far from au fait then fret not as I’d definitely say the bands take second stage to all the other amazing activities you can do at Wilderness.  Fancy sunrise yoga or some bizarre team sports games?  Want to try archery or make your own wedding ring?  How about a Gong bath followed by a five course dinner in a banquet hall? This festival has it ALL covered.  You could actually go there and come back healthier and fitter than when you arrived, alas this wasn’t the case for me as we arrived armed with Gin and the determination to have a right royal party in the champagne tent.

IMG_5309 (1)

Now I wouldn’t say this is a purse friendly festival- there are way too many tempting ways to empty your wallet, and annoyingly as we found out as first timers, a lot of the activities need to be pre booked.  However there are so many free things on offer too- group yoga, meditation, interactive theatre, talks and debates, free craft sessions, hiphop karaoke, and an insane amount of free silliness to watch or take part in around the central Atrium area of the festival.  We spent many an hour soaking up the glorious Oxfordshire sunshine people watching too- there’s just SO much to feast your eyes on.  Half naked women with banging bodies left right and centre, amazing circus performers, not to mention the incredible outfits that make even Cher’s wardrobe look like she shops at Bon Marche.

wilderness-21

wilderness-2

wilderness-3

wilderness-4

IMG_5306 (1)

wilderness-21

wilderness-15

wilderness-16

We stayed in a little wooden hut, which was super cosy (meaning FRIKIN roasting in the mornings) which had power to charge my camera batteries.  Bring your own fairy lights and bunting though or you’ll feel left out!  The beds were SO comfy but there’s very little room inside- just enough for me, my BFF and a weekends supply of Gin.  There are so many options for camping- from the absolute basic two man tent to practically a palace of dreams.  Ranging from gypsy style caravans, tepees, to little hobbit-style huts. You never know who you’ll bump into either, we were staying next to my blogging hero and right lovely lass EmTalks. What a gorgeous girlie, inside and out!

IMG_5085 (2)

I can’t reiterate how much there is to see and do, and every day has a theme so get your feathers and your glue gun ready before you head off.  All the stalls are epic too.  One of my favourite was the Naked Juice stand- where you entered through a magical floral awning into a hide away filled with fruit, creative activities and the BEST hangover cure ever- free juice!  I’m a massive fan of their Green Machine so this was the order of the day on several occasions….

wilderness-9

wilderness-8

wilderness-6

IMG_5307 (1)

We took a boat out on the lake on the Saturday (which is a free activity) and enjoyed a glass of fizz in the sanctuary spa hot tub.  You have to pre book the spa but you get two amazing hours to enjoy the postcard-perfect surroundings from a wood-fired hot tub.  We were so lucky with the weather- gorgeous hot sunshine, not a cloud in the sky- the very best of the British summer so far.  It was even warm enough to swim in the lake!  After dark it’s time to hit up the food tents.  You can dine in style or enjoy any of the offerings from the food stalls.  Hix was our choice of the weekend and we even met the chef himself- a rather merry Mark Hix makes for an interesting meal!  The Valleys is the ONLY place to party into the wee hours and some dirty house was just the tonic after hours soaking up the cloudless skies at the folk stage, not forgetting Robert Plant- who totally rocked! There’s definitely something special about raving in a laser-lit woodland filled with balloons with thousands of glitter-clad people smiling back at you, all feeling the same vibe.

wilderness-20

IMG_5308 (2)

wilderness-17

wilderness-18

wilderness-11

wilderness-10

wilderness-12

wilderness-13

wilderness-14

IMG_5220

If you want to escape the norm, wear an animal mask and don a pair of golden sequinned leggings then this is the festival for you.  So next year grab your best friend and head over to Cornbury Park.  Sometimes beautiful escapism is all we need for a few days, especially in a world that seems so ugly right now.

 

Check out Becky’s Youtube channel here and her Instagram here

To find out more about Wilderness festival click here.

Until next time,

J xx